Tag: the not so big house

13
Oct
2016

In pursuit of happiness – the question of size and architecture

In November of 2014 I wrote about the Not so Big Apartment and of Gary Chang’s clever Swiss army knife style apartment that transforms into 24 different spaces.   I admired the inventiveness of Cheng’s project and the notion of living well in a small setting.

The topic of size comes up a lot at architectural conferences. The issue is an important one for obvious reasons – bigger homes require more energy to heat and cool and more energy goes into the construction materials. Clients however aren’t always so interested in the notion of doing with less. That’s not surprising in the US, home to the super-sized Big Mac and it’s cousin the McMansion.

At HEDS we think big, from the perspective of living well, is beside the point –size has very little to do with the qualities that foster a sense of well-being and happiness. Size is what builders promote in the absence of good design. This is size over substance thinking – size is a false prize.

We share our clients’ goal that our designs should contribute to their happiness and well-being. In pursuit of their happiness, we promote more substantive qualities such as homes that bring richness through CLEVER ideas. Other qualities we pursue in our designs: FUN, COMMUNITY at all levels (between siblings, within the family, with neighbors and the larger community), a connection with NATURE, and last but not least, COOL.

In pursuit of COOL: The Exbury Egg by Pad Studio, Spud Group and Stephen Turner.

In pursuit of COOL: The Exbury Egg by Pad Studio, Spud Group and Stephen Turner.

Children's room

In pursuit of FUN and COMMUNITY. This kids room has a shared loft. An art wall exhibits the children’s masks. A window between the children’s rooms fosters community between siblings. When small these children held hands between the window and have grown up to be close friends. Woolen Mills House by HEDS.

Dogtrot House

In Pursuit of Nature: A captured outdoor space brings nature into the daily living for this home’s occupants. The space is used for sitting and dining during the spring, summer and fall. Dogtrot House by HEDS. Photo by Prakash Patel.

25
Nov
2014

the not so big apartment

Nature has more to teach us on size: Scientists are observing radical changes in body size in countless mammals, birds, insects, flowers… as a result of climate change. The arctic fox, adapting to a reduction in food supply, is getting smaller, allowing the population size to remain stable.

Hong Kong presents an interesting corollary to this problem of population density relative to habitat size.  How to live well in a small setting.  This is a pressing question and the architect Gary Chang posits an intriguing answer.  His 330 square foot Hong Kong living quarters, the apartment equivalent to the Swiss army knife, transforms into 24 different spaces: wall of books slides away to reveal a linen closet, which in turn slides away to reveal a soaker bath, a bed folds down over the soaker bath to transform into sleeping quarters and so forth. What I love about Chang’s idea is that a room is only a room when you’re in it; when you’re not cooking, the kitchen disappears behind the wardrobe where you slip into a smoking jacket. Clever man.

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