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Could you live in OFIS’s 30m² micro-home?

  • 11 Comments

Architects and engineers have teamed up to install a compact living unit in an east London courtyard in a bid to spark debate about micro-living in the city

Shoreditch-based engineering firm AKT II and Slovenian architects OFIS Arhitekti have installed the prototype unit in Old Street Yard, behind AHMM’s White Collar Factory.

The unit, comprising three 10m² modules, will be exhibited for a month from 10 September, with visitors able to explore the compact interior and ‘get a taste for sustainable, small-scale living’, according to AKT II.

Made of timber frames reinforced by plywood boards, the unit is designed for two people with double bed, wardrobe, table and chairs and the possibility to install a bathroom and kitchenette. 

Micro-homes are on the rise in London – 8,000 are being built in the capital each year, according to OFIS’s research – but many have questioned whether they are the solution to the capital’s housing crisis, or part of the problem.

With a total area of 30m², the Living Unit would comes in under the minimum space standard of 37m² set by the government, but OFIS’s Spela Videcnik said the aim of installation was to encourage discussion on micro-homes.

She said: ’As the capital’s population increases, can innovative temporary space-saving solutions offer a pragmatic approach for those who prioritise location over space?’

Micro home living unit ofis under construction

Micro home living unit ofis under construction

According to OFIS, an effective way of reducing housing costs would be to design ’smaller volumes to live in, cheaper ways of constructing and, most radically, rid the idea that a home has to be permanent’.

The Living Unit, previously exhibited in Milan and at Slovenia’s Ljubljana Castle, was born out of a larger research initiative into the challenges of building under ‘extreme conditions’ such as rising costs of land in London.

In addition to the exhibition, which is part of London Design Week, a discussion on micro-living will take place at AKT II’s office in the White Collar Factory on 17 September, with a panel of built environment professionals and leading commentators.

At the end of the exhibition, the Architecture Foundation will find a new home for the Living Unit .

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  • 11 Comments

Readers' comments (11)

  • It may be fun for a weekend getaway in the forest or mountains but I do wonder what long term health implications there are for anyone living in such small spaces for the long term.

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  • As a 6'3" man I would like some space, other than the stair, in which to stand up.

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  • Beyond daft. A more inefficient and expensive use of space is hard to imagine.

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  • Chris Roche

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  • John Kellett

    People have been living in smaller spaces outside London, as well as inside, for decades. I lived on my narrowboat for a couple of years (much less than 30sqm), easy. It’s not the area or the volume that’s important it is how that space is used.
    A 3 storey building with ladders is an odd approach to using space efficiently. At least a narrowboat can transverse the nation with a constantly changing ‘external amenity area’ and eleviate commuting :-)

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  • Where is the toilet and shower?

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  • You use the toilet in the local cafe, shower at your workplace, and, er, keep your bike on the roof.

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  • Granted the comment privilege is not a blog facility; Robert Wakeham firmly hits the nail on the head.

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  • Am I missing something? This could not be any more inefficient if it tried!?...its difficult to see how this would stack/terrace efficiently to make best use of space in an urban setting!!.its not just about efficiency of internal space (a 3 storey unit with vertical circulation!! - really!!?) but how it makes best use of the land it sits on. Someone actually invested a lot of money and built this thing!! - I’m sorry to say that this should have remained on the drawing board!

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  • I would like to understand why providing funnel shaped spaces with sloping floors is efficient: 1) from a construction point of view; 2) in terms of how they might stack and 3) the quality of space they produce.
    This is utterly pointless - a triumph of designer's conceit over any form of practicality.
    This does not test compact living, it tests the patience of anyone trying to devise a reasonable approach to solving the current housing crisis.

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