Houses: Will Small Be the New Big?

24 02 2007

hc1.jpg

There are a number of reasons to believe that living space in the short and long-term future will need to be smaller, including:

  1. Many nations have less usable land and exploding populations.
  2. In all likelihood, more than half of all human beings now live in cities.  We’re out of room for them.
  3. As humans spend more time in virtual space, they may have less intrinsic interest in inhabiting expanded physical space.
  4. The United States is about be struck by an “age wave” of retiring baby boomers, many of whom won’t be able to afford spacious housing.
  5. 100 years from new the planet is going to have considerably less usable land, if global warming predictions are correct.
  6. And don’t forget … space colonization.  It could happen.

Designs for small but comfortable living spaces should be of great interest, then – which leads us to designs like Luigi Colani’s small house of the future.  In a Copernican shift from typical designs, inhabitants of the Colani house stay put (in a living room space) and use a remote control to turn a rotating cylinder that contains a bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom.

Total footprint for the Colani house?  6 x 6 meters.   Here’s the kitchen:

hc_kitchen.jpg

The bedroom:

hc_bedroom.jpg

And the bathroom:

hc_bathroom.jpg

Hopefully there’s a block on that remote control when the bathroom is in use.

It looks far more livable than Tokyo capsule hotels, with their coffin-sized sleeping spaces:

tokyo_capsulerow.jpg

Still, if the prospect of living in a space like this bothers you there are plenty of opportunities for activism in the fight against global warming …

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