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Micro Apartments: The Latest Architecture and News

Micro Living in China: Tiny Houses as an Innovative Design Solution

According to the United Nation’s “The World’s Cities in 2018”, it is estimated that, “by 2030, urban areas are projected to house 60 percent of people globally and one in every three people will live in cities with at least half a million inhabitants.” Also, between 2018 and 2030, it is estimated that the number of cities with 500,000 inhabitants or more is expected to grow by 23 percent in Asia. China, as the largest economy in Asia, with a GDP (PPP) of $25.27 trillion, is expanding rapidly, both economically and demographically.

With more and more migrant workers coming into the bigger cities in China, it has become increasingly difficult for workers to find an affordable place to live. Some people decide to move away from urban centers and bear with the lengthy commute time, while others are seeking creative design solutions to transform their home into a tiny, functional space to meet their daily needs.

Suli House / Luo Xiuda. Image © Weiqi JinYard Apartment / Qisi Design. Image Courtesy of CL studioYard Apartment / Qisi Design. Image Courtesy of CL studioYard Apartment / Qisi Design. Image Courtesy of CL studio+ 18

SLICE Creates Apartments from Plugin Modules for Future City Living

Iranian architect and concept designer Nasim Sehat has developed an alternative living module driven by adaptability for the gig economy. SLICE is described as a “sustainable, people centric, connected, self-contained, and flexible plug’n-play urban solution” targeted at future city dwellers.

SLICE consists of a layered module of functional plugins, combined to create basic spatial configurations. In tandem with the design of SLICE’s spatial profile, Shanghai-based Sehat has proposed a shared, on-demand digital service for module rental, maintenance, and payment.

© Nasim Sehat© Nasim Sehat© Nasim Sehat© Nasim Sehat+ 7

The Economics Behind New York's Micro-Apartment Experiment

Are micro-apartments a revolutionary trend? Or are developers exploiting an out-of-control market? Carmel Place, located in Manhattan's Kips Bay, features 55 units that range from 260 to 360 square feet. Image Courtesy of Cameron Blayock
Are micro-apartments a revolutionary trend? Or are developers exploiting an out-of-control market? Carmel Place, located in Manhattan's Kips Bay, features 55 units that range from 260 to 360 square feet. Image Courtesy of Cameron Blayock

This article was originally published by The Architect's Newspaper as "Are micro-apartments a revolutionary trend? Or are developers exploiting an out-of-control market?"

The situation was dire: People were flocking to cities for work, but scarce land and lack of new construction were driving up rent prices. Middle-income residents couldn’t afford the high-end housing stock, nor did they want to enter cramped—sometimes illegally so—apartments. Luckily, a new housing solution appeared: In exchange for small, single-occupancy units, residents could share amenities—like a restaurant-kitchen, dining area, lounge, and cleaning services—that were possible thanks to economies of scale. Sound familiar?

It should: It’s the basic premise behind Carmel Place, a micro-apartment development in Manhattan’s Kips Bay that recently started leasing. The development—whose 55 units range from 260 to 360 square feet—was the result of Mayor Bloomberg’s 2012 adAPT NYC Competition to find housing solutions for the city’s shortage of one- and two-person apartments. Back then, Carmel Place needed special legal exceptions to be built, but last March the city removed the 400-square-foot minimum on individual units. While density controls mean another all-micro-apartment building is unlikely, only building codes will provide a de facto minimum unit size (somewhere in the upper 200 square foot range). What does this deregulation mean for New York City’s always-turbulent housing market? Will New Yorkers get new, sorely needed housing options or a raw deal?

Courtesy of Cameron BlayockCourtesy of Cameron BlayockA high-quality of life is central to Carmel Place’s sell to market-rate renters: Multiple personal services (like housekeeping) and space-saving furniture are included in the rent, and units boast nearly 10-foot-tall ceilings and 8-foot-tall windows to maximize natural light. Image Courtesy of OllieCourtesy of Ollie+ 19

Micro-Apartments: Are Expanding Tables and Folding Furniture a Solution to Inequality?

This opinion-piece is a response to Nick Axel’s essay Cloud Urbanism: Towards a Redistribution of Spatial Value, published on ArchDaily as part of our partnership with Volume.

In his recent article, Nick Axel puts forward a compelling argument for the (re)distribution of city-space according to use value: kickball trophies and absentee owners out, efficient use of space in. Distributing urban space according to use certainly makes sense. Along with unoccupied luxury condos that are nothing more than assets to the 1% and mostly empty vacation apartments, expelling (rarely accessed) back-closets to the suburbs frees more of the limited space in cities for people to actually live in.