Compact Living

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Reducing the scale of our needs, going back to smaller scale living, can have many advantages, including the recovery of one of the last horizons of luxury in our contemporary lives: time.
Smaller scale designs may not be the solution, but may be a road that could be pursued in a bid to find the right balance between enjoying one’s life with what is truly valued.

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The projects presented in «Compact Living» are varied, not only in terms of size – which ranges from the micro size of 9 m2, and below, to those “not so small”, of more than 80 m2 – but also in terms of costs, materials and uses. Some are self-built, others are constructed by “firms” of various sizes. In some cases these are temporary residences, being utilised seasonally, whilst others are everyday houses. Some are experimental prototypes, others are objects of luxury design. A reduction in size is not necessarily financially viable, although in general the economy of which we are speaking about is the result of an overall balance between the utilisation of resources and their environmental impact.

Small and very small dimensions are not new concepts in architecture: from the research of the European avant-garde of the Twenties and Thirties, to the Cabanon by Le Corbusier, the prefabricated aluminium structures by Jean Prouvé, the studies of Richard Buckminster Fuller, and to those of the neo-avant-gardes of the Eighties – including Georges Candilis, presented in the section That was… – the Twentieth Century is full of projects and pioneering inventions, which still hold value. Their traces can be clearly seen in many of the projects that follow, demonstrating how the new generation of architects are aware of the legacy of the past.
Smaller scale abodes offer a viable alternative to increasingly expensive rents, a reduction in the availability of employment and the decline in housing affordability. More compact scale housing is energy efficient, creates lower emissions and is more sustainable both economically and in terms of maintenance. Clean air, natural and less developed horizons, tranquillity and the possibility of leaving behind what you don’t really need are just some of the benefits.

Reducing the scale of our needs, going back to smaller scale living, can have many advantages, including the recovery of one of the last horizons of luxury in our contemporary lives: time.

With projects from: 2by4, a.lt, Ábaton, act_romegialli, Atelier Correia, BAK, Bureau Ira Koers, Candid Rogers, Caramel, Dekleva Gregorič Architects, Design Develop, dmvA Architecten, Dorte Mandrup, Arkitekter, Ensamble, Haworth Tompkins Architects, James & Mau Architecture, Kota Mizuishi, MAPA · MAAM + Studioparalelo, Rebelo de Andrade, SAMF Arquitectos, SAMI, Saunders Architecture, Septembre, Studio Aisslinger, wg3, Suppose Design Office, TYIN tegnestue and more.

Boundaries is a quarterly magazine on sustainable, socially engaged and humanitarian architecture. Each issue is monographic, with full texts in English and Italian (facing), and all articles are accompanied by notes and a bibliography for further reading. ISSN 2239-0332.

Grade 
09/03/2016

it's possible to live comfortably in small houses

Those familiar with Boundaries know that the projects and stories typically are found in parts of Africa, Asia, and other corners of the world not represented so well in the mainstream architectural press. Further, the projects tend to be for groups of people that are not the traditional clients of architects: issue 10 focused on "Architecture for Emergencies," for example. That said, Compact Living's theme and selection is the closest I've seen the magazine veer to the mainstream, with primarily middle- and upper-class dwellings primarily in Europe. Clearly the goal is to stress that it's possible to live comfortably in small houses, therefore creating less of a strain on the environment. Chapters work accordingly: under 25 m2, under 35m2, "the big tiny," and so forth.

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Compact Living

Compact Living

Reducing the scale of our needs, going back to smaller scale living, can have many advantages, including the recovery of one of the last horizons of luxury in our contemporary lives: time.
Smaller scale designs may not be the solution, but may be a road that could be pursued in a bid to find the right balance between enjoying one’s life with what is truly valued.

English edition.

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