20 May 2010
If you think a tiny space is something to lament about, check out this Hong Kong apartment called the "Domestic Transformer" by architect Gary Chang. It's 344 SF and is purported to transform into 24 different configurations. It's gotten a lot of press recently in blogs like ArchDaily and the NYTimes. Although I have yet to see all 24 variations, it's a pretty cool concept in not only modularity but in how flexible architecture can be to accommodate various programs in tight quarters.
The project is lauded in quite a few "green" publications and forums, although the association isn't explained beyond the daylighting benefits of mirrored ceilings that increase the interior illumination. But if you think of it more in light of the lifecycle of the apartment (pun intended), then it makes sense to have a flexible space like this. What I find to be most valuable is not just how you can have 24 configurations in one space for one certain living situation, but the possibilities of changing a living space based on the different needs of users. (This is a subtle difference, although I'm not sure if my point comes across clearly.) In that sense, a living space can not only expand or contract for the current occupants, but can change based on future needs.
That second part is what I'm trying to explore in my final project for Mass Customization of Housing, the kinetic nature of living as stretched over the many lives of various residents. We'll see if it turns out to be as flexible and cool as this modular space. And maybe I'll get to visit this apartment sometime this summer while I'm there. (Hey, I can hope, right?)