By Jody McCutcheon
In a land where space is scarce and people are plentiful, a Micro-house seems like an ideal solution to the challenges of carving out individual living space. Studio Liu Lubin of Beijing has designed a habitation structure that can be faithfully described as several rooms in one. Its guiding principle is the consolidation of function.
The architectural concept relies on minimal space requirements for basic indoor activities like sitting, laying down and standing. The Micro-house’s form acts as either furniture (chair or bed) or architecture (wall or ceiling). In one position, the Micro-house is a sleeping area. Rotate the structure and it turns into a sitting area, or a washroom, or a workshop, etc. And no matter the orientation, the ceiling always offers enough headroom.
Just as neat is the fact that the Micro-house can be utilised as a single, multi-functional room, or it can be stacked together with other Micro-houses, like Tetris pieces, to create a larger house, or even a small neighbourhood of sorts. Perhaps most important, owning a Micro-house is one of the few ways folks in China can own a private residence under that country’s present land policy.
The structure is made mostly of a light but durable glass-fibre–reinforced composite structure, which is to say plastic–unfortunately then, the house is not as eco as it should be. On the bright side, it can easily be lifted and assembled by hand. Plus, a single unit will fit comfortably into a transport container, thus facilitating transportation.
However, there are a couple of pragmatic questions that this journalist couldn’t get answered: How do electricity and other power sources connect to the house? Does the structure include well-ventilated cooking space? Can solar panels be fitted to the structure? And what about water mains and sanitation?
Regardless of the answers, it’s clear the design of the Micro-house offers a lot of potential in an increasingly crowded world.