Over the last few years, we have explored different ways of taking advantage of small spaces in residential architecture. From efficient furniture to kitchens with transformable systems to adapting essential household appliances, architects have begun looking for effective ways of optimizing scarce floor space or making spaces more flexible in multifunctional and mixed-use typologies.
The bed, as an indispensable element, is an essential consideration in these experiments. Its functions can be fulfilled without completely losing the valuable space it occupies, and the bedroom experience can be enriched with careful thought. How can we reinvent and take advantage of the opportunities of the traditional bed?
Achieving the best use of space, reducing the footprint of the buildings that are constructed and designing an optimal distribution that can meet the needs of their inhabitants are some of the requirements and challenges faced, day after day, by architects around the world. Through the implementation of certain materials, the definition of the morphology or even the geographical and natural conditions of the terrain, it is possible to carry out various strategies that make it possible to design homes with the comfort that their users need and in the smallest amount of square metres possible.
Regardless of the design adopted for kitchen spaces, for some years now and with increasing frequency, many architects have been deciding to design kitchens by integrating them into other rooms in the home. Free of dividing walls or joinery, integrated kitchens are implemented with the aim of leaving the activities that take place there in full view of everyone, encouraging interaction and communication between the inhabitants.
Over the last couple of years, terraces have become an important part of urban life, acting as a refuge, a space for enjoyment and gathering, for contemplation or as an outdoor workspace. As a result of periods of confinement around the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, these outdoor spaces where people can exercise, connect with nature, study or work, have become particularly popular with those living in large cities.
The popularity of pre-designed and pre-fabricated homes is growing, moving much of the construction process from the building site into factories. While countries like Singapore, Australia and the United Kingdom are increasingly adopting modular buildings to meet labor and housing shortages, Nordic countries like Sweden already build 90% of residential single-family houses in prefab wood. Despite the recent surge in interest, off-site building is by no means a new concept. In fact, the construction method has been present throughout history in many attempts to consolidate its use in construction: as far back as A.D 43, the Roman army brought with them prefabricated forts to Britain, while Japan has been building in wood off-site and moving parts in pre-assemblies for at least a thousand years.
Whether applied as cladding to steel or timber frame structures or to structures built by traditional means, sheet metal offers an array of advantages as a building material, thanks to its low cost, ease of maintenance, and versatility.