Houses must now accommodate families whose structure changes over the course of increasingly shorter cycles. These sociological shifts are among the reasons why average household size has been decreasing over the past few decades. Nevertheless, the need for more space is just as strong as ever. While new housing projects tend to feature increasingly elaborate façades and more and more sophisticated technical systems, apartment interiors continue to be quite standardised. A wide range of new models, including modular, flexible, and scalable homes, are rewriting the rules for housing.
The "add-on room" is the most common solution for addressing needs associated with a changing family structure (arrival of a new baby, etc.), the desire for a more comfortable space (library, game room, etc.), or a more temporary change (hosting friends and family, etc.). However, building an add-on room is often economically impossible. In other words, the family budget isn't enough to purchase or rent the extra square metres. Alternatives to an add-on room have been invented to offer families a more affordable option. For example, several households in a residence might choose to share an extra room and split the cost. The room can be for collective or individual use.
Another solution is an on-demand, attachable room addition. In this case, a small room is plugged into façade using steel cables attached to the roof. The unit is positioned over an apartment window, which then becomes the room's door. The advantage is that the room can be added at any time and doesn't have to be included in the building's original design. Another option is the "extra room for rent". In this case, a living space connected to the main apartment is rented out. The area includes a bathroom and exterior entryway, making it independent from the rest of the apartment. Such a room has a variety of uses, such as a place to host friends and family, a remote working office, or a way to earn extra money and pay for the main apartment by renting the room out to third parties.
This project is unconventional and features housing units with diverse configurations for today's diverse range of households and lifestyles. 1BR units feature alcoves that can be turned into an office corner or a sleeping area so a divorced parent doesn't have to sleep on the couch when his or her children come over for the weekend. Studios and 1BR units can be added to an adjacent 2BR unit to create a 4BR apartment. All 2BR units feature a room that can be separated from the rest of the home and a second bathroom to make living together easier. This arrangement can accommodate a young adult who returns to the family home, a grandparent, or a live-in home assistant. The 3BR and 4BR units can be easily divided once children move out. The detached studio can then be sold or rented out.
Finally, in response to intense economic and spatial constraints, city centres now offer a range of small apartments. The goal is to optimise the use of the space and create ingenious housing solutions. In general, designing an optimal layout depends on three main factors: using all available space, increasing storage space, and selecting efficient furniture. Modular and multi-purpose furniture, trap-door systems in the floor and ceiling that hide small pieces of furniture, and walls with built-in furniture that slides open, tips down, or opens up like a drawer can have a huge impact. Another trend that allows residents to quickly change the layout of their home involves building walls out of giant Lego blocks.
Presented at London's Ideal Home Show in March 2017, this home, which has been built inside a large cylinder, is equipped with electric motors that rotate the unit a quarter turn in just a few seconds with a press of a button. The walls then turn into the floor and ceiling, creating a whole new room. The kitchen table, which is attached to the floor in the first configuration, moves to the wall to become a screen. Every item is built into the wall or attached using a system of magnets. The toilet and bathroom are separate from the rotating room, however. This rotating home offers 40 m² of usable surface area even though its footprint is just 10 m².