Student: Voor Alles, Jan Van Heijningen, Kas De Rooij, Mendes Hogestyn, Stefani Vozila, Yangwook Kang
“The secret of happiness is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” Socrates
It sounds a bit contradictory to build a tiny home for a tall guy but it actually ends up to be a large home for a tall guy. It turns out that 35 m2 is big enough to create a spacious feeling lofty home.
The brief was to build a harmonious, spacious feeling and bright home with plenty of storage. The client wanted to use deliberately less space. To keep his “footprint” small and because he thought he had to be very conscious about filling the space - or keeping the space empty - and therefore limiting unnecessary stuff. He wanted to make the most out of a small space, quality above quantity, and because of this concept, we loved to work on this small project. Obviously, another benefit of this is that he could spend more money on quality architecture and less on quantity rubbish space.
We wanted the space to feel as spacious as possible and in such a small space we thought to keep it simple and get rid of unnecessary elements to create one consistent open space by using little and light materials designed and made to measure. We believe this minimalistic approach emphasizes the space, a few well picked - neutral and natural - materials and some personal belongings.
These days (in Amsterdam) it’s very common to skip the architect and go directly to the contractor which often results in dull (bad quality) architecture and interiors ready for demolishment in 5 to 10 years. We wanted to do the opposite, skip the contractor and create an inspiring interior and architecture with a tight budget by working with a transparent and shared material and labor cost sheet. The client paid everybody on an hourly rate and all the materials directly himself. This resulted in less stress and more trust.
We designed everything made to measure 1:1 in 3D CAD and exported the design into an ordering list to directly order the materials from the supplier. In this way, we were able to order the materials from the supplier without engaging any middlemen and not needing a contractor (resulting in much fewer mistakes). The next step was to make simple assembling drawings that can be read and built by anyone who can hold a screwdriver.
Considering our tight budget, we invited (i.a. architecture and carpentry) students in the assembling process which resulted in a constructive collaboration where we saved on labor cost while students were able to learn by practice. More specific work, such as plumbing and electricity, was done by specialists which were willing to cooperate with students and share their skills. The space is conceived as one space. There is only one dividing (white solid timber) wall with concealed doors hiding the entrance, bathroom and laundry room.
In between the bed and the living area is a space dividing cabinet with a slatted opening in the middle. This enables light and a sneak peek in the other space while still providing enough privacy. To maintain a consistent look we designed the kitchen in such a way that at first sight seems like a piece of furniture by concealing kitchen equipment such as an oven, extractor, and microwave. Since this was a refurbishment job we had to work around e.g. the raised bathroom floor and radiators. We actually used those “problems” as a design opportunity and build radiator covers which also function as seating and a raised floor which subtlety breaks the space.
The client previously had a folding bed which he would only close whenever there were guests and therefore didn’t function very well according to him. Therefore, we designed an extra large bed which could also be used as a cozy seating or reading space. This atmosphere was elaborated by elevating the bed one meter, also to create extra storage space below. We were very lucky the client wanted and believed in this new way of building and was willing to spend his money and trust on this (risky) pilot project.