With the launch of the latest craze in town, the iPad Mini, who is to say small, is not desirable or that bigger is always better? The iPad Mini is believed to dominate the 7” tablet market and will be expected to replace up to 25% of the current 9.7” iPad users.
Can we say the same for houses? This is an important question that we Singaporean need to ask ourselves. Inevitably, due to land scarcity, the reduction in floor areas of newer housing has reduced. One good example is how a HDB 4A model has shrunk from 103sqm in year 2002 to as small as 85sqm (or smaller) today. Maybe, it is not so much of how much space we need, but how effectively or creatively we can manage our living area (See “How to live in a shoebox apartment?” Here, we are going to explore some interesting (weird?) concepts which might redefine our perspective towards size of a home, and accept the future of smaller housing.
Introducing the Shoebox Mini
In Warsaw, Poland, we see the world’s thinnest house by Architect Jakub Szczesny of the Polish firm Centrala. It is located in a 5 foot by 2 feet alley (converging to 50 inches at the end) between two buildings but it houses all the necessary furniture and fitting such as a “nearly double-size” bed, a toilet, a “bean bag sofa” and even dining and study tables! Total floor space is about 46 square feet (4.27 square meter). Also, this is a duplex, with desirable floor to ceiling height.
But is this truly liveable? Technically in accordance to Poland’s housing regulations, this is too small to be considered a residential dwelling. Well, I would say it is very much dependent on individual, and in this case, the maximum is TWO individuals. Maybe the initial general reaction is that you must be crazy enough to be able to live in such a house, but what if this is the norm for the future? Also, if this were to be located in the Orchard or CBD area, and is priced at about $3000psf, would you still turn this away? Even at the same dollar per square feet, the next design will definitely be a catch.
Coming Soon: The Shoebox Ultra Mini
Imaging a world, sometime in the far away future whereby the human population has exploded to 2000 billion (present population is estimated to be about 7 billion), where will we stay? Or should I ask:”How do live?” Van Bo Le-Metnzel of Hartz IV Möbel might just have the solution - The One Square Meter House (This should be the world’s smallest house).
Being mobile (wheels attached), this house concept is designed for you to be able to choose your location of stay, your window view and even your neighbours. Although it doesn’t come with the toilet facility or a king size bed, even at a whopping $5000psf, this will only set you back at $53,000. Where in Singapore can you get a house for such an attractive price? However, based on initial trial prices, per night rental for the “one sqm house” is about $1.63, which means investors beware.
So does size matters?
What will be next – the Shoebox Mega Mini measuring One-Square-Feet and it comes fully furnished? Although these are currently still concepts, we are not saying that they will not turn into practical reality. My advice is to keep an open mind and be ready to embrace weirder and more abstract designs for houses in the coming years ahead. Who says shoebox units are small?