Cleverly rotated volumes make the most of a tiny Shanghai apartment

July 30, 2018 by  
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With a population of over 24 million, it’s no wonder that apartments are small in the Chinese mega-city of Shanghai . Thanks to clever space-saving techniques and design, however, making life pleasant in small spaces is more than possible, as seen in this recent apartment renovation on Kangping Road. Local architecture practice TOWOdesign transformed a tiny apartment into the 10 Degrees House, a multifunctional abode that uses enclosed volumes to cleverly delineate its various programs while maintaining an open and colorful character. Despite the 430-square-foot apartment’s small footprint , the brief asked for a home that would include a bedroom as well as an office, entertainment area, storage and all other functions necessary in daily living. Rather than walls, the TOWOdesign inserted four “function boxes” with curved edges, each of which services a different program. The four boxes include the bedroom, bath, entertainment space and the centrally placed kitchen with integrated storage. All of the boxes are wrapped in light-colored timber, except for the kitchen unit that is covered in glossy, bright yellow panels. “However, some contradictions appeared after placing the boxes in this small space, especially the box for entertainment; it blocked the entire flow line and view of the whole space,” the architects said in a project statement. “Therefore, TOWOdesign made some adjustment to the previous design. They rotated all the functional boxes by 10 degrees; in this way, said problems were all solved perfectly. What’s more, the 10 degree rotation made some interesting intersections. For example, next to the box for resting, the intersection space happens to be good for installing a staircase with storage cabinets hidden, which is very flexible and practical.” Related: This kitchen in a box makes it easy to cook in micro-apartments and tiny homes The spaces in between the rotated volumes, such as the living room and open kitchen, feel spacious thanks to the use of white walls and large mirrors. Space-saving elements, like the folding dining table and plenty of hidden storage, help reduce visual clutter. + TOWOdesign Images by TOWOdesign

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Cleverly rotated volumes make the most of a tiny Shanghai apartment

Tiny ‘prison-like’ apartment in Beijing reborn as a light-filled family home

January 2, 2017 by  
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OEU-ChaO Architects have worked absolute magic on this tiny 300-square-foot home in Bejing. What was once an incredibly dark and dingy space has been transformed into a welcoming family home that uses an outer courtyard and sloped wooden ceiling to bring optimal natural light and character to the small space. Located on the second ring road of Beijing City’s Xirongxian Hutong, the tiny structure is squeezed in-between five other homes, virtually hidden from the narrow street out front. Taking into account the restrictive spatial limits of the space, the renovation strategy focused on opening up the area to provide natural light and air circulation as well as a comfortable living space. To do so, the architects chose to incorporate a series of independent, easy-to-install units into the original space. Related: Playful renovation in Barcelona squeezes more out of a tiny home The first unit was installed as a hallway that leads to a well-lit courtyard at the back of the home. This outdoor space is strategically blended into the home’s interior living space through two long tables that run the length of the window on both the outside and the inside. The large window not only adds airiness to the interior, but serves as the heart of the home by allowing the family to enjoy a nice sitting area in good or bad weather. The second unit is what gives the home its cabin-like character: a sloped wooden gallery roof . The high wooden beams add personality and a distinct openness to the compact living area and small bedroom space located on the first floor. The high ceilings were also useful to install the children’s room, which sits on the second level and is accessible by ladder. + OEU-ChaO Architects Via Archdaily Images via Zhi Cheng

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Tiny ‘prison-like’ apartment in Beijing reborn as a light-filled family home

Amazing camper van maximizes space with clever boat design tricks

January 2, 2017 by  
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If you thought camper vans couldn’t be elegant and cozy, think again. Jack Richens of This Moving House converted a 2012 Mercedes Benz Sprinter into a roomy camper van that can accommodate a four-person family on week-long holidays to the forest or the beach. Inspired by boat bunk designs, Richens added details like stacked beds to really open up the long wheelbase van and maximize space. Richens and his girlfriend enjoyed traveling in a converted mail delivery van until it died. They then shopped around for an alternative mode of getaway transportation , only to find hideous motor homes and impractical camper vans. So his girlfriend designed their dream camper van, and Richens built it largely by himself, with some advice from his dad. Related: Man quits desk job to transform van into a digital nomad’s dream home At the front of the van, four captain chairs – the original fixtures – provide seating. The front two chairs can swivel around, and a table in-between the chairs allows everyone to grab a bite to eat together. Behind the dining area is a little kitchen, which is equipped with a sink, two burners, some cabinet space, and a small counter for preparing food. Ingenious storage beneath the floor provides an extra place to stash shoes – and lessen the amount of sand and dirt tracked into the camper. The camper’s boat inspiration is most apparent in the bedroom. Stacked beds provide room for all four to sleep rather comfortably, and a porthole at the top bed keeps things open. Richens said , “The clever bit of design is an old boat bunk construction technique…The beds are only full height from the waist up and your legs slide into a space only as high as your hips are wide. Importantly, this enables you to sleep on your side or roll over without getting wedged or tearing your kneecaps off. Using this space-saving technique three tiers of sleeping can be cunningly shoe-horned into the available area.” The cool camper cost about $10,000, with equipment and materials costing $8,500. You can read more about the construction process on This Moving House’s blog , and Richens has also started taking commissions to convert other vehicles into comfortable homes away from home. + This Moving House Via Treehugger Images via This Moving House

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