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The art of using space: Urban micro housing is trending

The ARCH+DSGN Summit in Istanbul was THE architecture and design event in Eastern Europe. The event took place within the scope of the exhibition of the iF DESIGN AWARD 2019 and also focused on the current trend topic “micro apartments and tiny houses”. The summit showcased the winner projects of the iF DESIGN TALENT AWARD 2017, who submitted their concepts on the topic “micro apartments”.

 “It‘s the urban equivalent of a tiny house—a small dwelling, typically under 30 square meters, some as little as 10 — that is gaining popularity in pricey cities, where larger apartments are financially out of reach”, said iF CEO Ralph Wiegmann in his keynote.


 “The tiny house movement represents a shift toward an ecological and minimalist lifestyle where people consume only what they need."


Since there is a growing awareness for sustainability, tiny houses and micro apartments are getting more and more popular. “The tiny house movement represents a shift toward an ecological and minimalist lifestyle where people consume only what they need. Tiny houses reduce the environmental impact of owners’ homes by a significant margin”, said Wiegmann. There are many benefits from a micro-apartment or tiny house, especially in cities, where housing scarcity is growing.

Innovative Smart and Space-saving solutions for Micro Housing

The kitchen counter and dinner table have been incorporated in one design, i.e. the space is used more effectively and the cooking and eating activities can be more interactive. By: Students of the Guangdong University of Technology.

The kitchen counter and dinner table have been incorporated in one design, i.e. the space is used more effectively and the cooking and eating activities can be more interactive. By: Students of the Guangdong University of Technology.

V4 Housing designed micro-collective housing units consisting of different prototypes that combined four vertical recycling systems, not only to provide for better living space but also to improve the environment of the city.

V4 Housing designed micro-collective housing units consisting of different prototypes that combined four vertical recycling systems, not only to provide for better living space but also to improve the environment of the city.

All-in-One-Room fruniture by iF DESIGN TALENT AWARD Winners Myung Ji University Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.

All-in-One-Room fruniture by iF DESIGN TALENT AWARD Winners Myung Ji University Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.

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What to keep in mind when planning and designing a micro apartment or tiny house? Check-out the summary below:

  •  Use glass partitions for better illumination of the premises.
  •  Implement sliding glass doors.
  •  Incorporate metal framework with a transparent look and qualities.
  •  Save space with a suspended bedroom.
  •  Put the bedroom in a movable cube.
  •  Implement movable shelf units.
  •  Incorporate furniture island in the middle of the living space.
  •  Use a minimalist color palette.
  •  Color distinction – you could paint the second level in a different tonality.
  •  You can use Movable wall in combination with folding wall bed.
  •  Build-in furniture is key!

Since the summit took place in a city that was recently proclaimed as an UNESCO City of Design, there are numerous talented, aspiring and internationally successful design offices and creatives in Istanbul. What is their turn on architecture and especially the tiny house movement? We talked to Özge Meriç and Volkan Taskin of Istanbul-based architecture and urban design office “degostudio” about architecture trends and housing habits in Turkey.

How does Turkish architecture differ from other parts of the world?

degostudio: In the age of globalization, it would be very optimistic to talk about a distinctive and isolated culture. In that sense, when one talks about contemporary Turkish architecture, it is more about the local impacts of the global architecture scene on that city and country. The scales of these cultural impacts are determined by local factors, especially economical ones. In the case of Turkey, the most important economical factor is the construction boom of the last two decades. During this boom, Turkish architects did many projects both at home and abroad, giving them expertise and confidence along with it. The boom has increased both demand and supply of new projects at an exponential rate. Thus, the Turkish architecture scene became more dynamic and driven. This driven attitude meant shortened time-schedules with ever-increasing customer demands. Compared to EU regions and other western countries, Turkish architects provided almost same-quality designs in half –even quarter- of the time their European counterparts had for design. That meant long working hours and harsh competition for projects which toughened the new generation of architects. So when we talk about a distinctive Turkish architecture, we don’t talk about style and ornaments; a global style is mostly well received both by customers and designers. So it is more about an aggressive and fruitful attitude towards design that can be both hastily in the creation and seductive in the looks. 

dego_harmankaya

What role does “tradition” play and how important is modern architecture to the people?

degostudio: With the rise of conservative politics both at home and around the world, tradition gained momentum almost for the first time in the last hundred years. On the other hand, modernism, with century long exposure to everyday life, has also created its own traditions and legacies. Therefore, what tradition means today is not post-modernist escapism, but a search for a mutual ground between local values and global styles. The pure modernism of the early 20th Century is long gone and today being vernacular means being modern as well, as long as the designer molds that mutual ground into an unique piece of work. Therefore, the long-accepted centers vs. periphery arguments are slowly proving wrong to understand the emerging architecture scenes in Sub-Saharan Africa and Indochina. This is surely a victory for modernism, disguised as tradition in everyday conservative politics.

“Micro-apartments and other small housing typologies which are occupied by single white collars and young couples that ‘may’ live together without a marital union, are targets for conservative politics.”


Are Micro Apartments, for example in cities like Ankara or Istanbul, a thing?

degostudio: Turkey does not have a micro apartment culture like they have in Japan. However, there is an ongoing trend in the more efficiently planned smaller apartments especially in cities like Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir. On the other hand, the rising conservative politics utilizes housing as a beacon of their political space. Micro-apartments and other small housing typologies which are occupied by single white collars and young couples that “may” live together without a marital union, are targets for conservative politics. Recently, some cities have banned the building of 1+0 studio condos for the sake of “protecting the family and traditional values of life”. So it is again tradition versus contemporary life situation. 

“In Turkish culture house is regarded as an incremental space; every open-space and semi-public area in and around the house is a potential addition to the core space.”

What requirements are important for people in Turkish cities when it is comes to housing? For example: small or big kitchen? Balcony/Terrace?

degostudio: We’ve done a wide scope of housing projects from social housing to luxury residences. Despite the major economic differences between the users of these projects, there are still some major common things when it comes to home. First of all, in Turkish culture house is regarded as an incremental space; every open-space and semi-public area in and around the house is a potential addition to the core space: balconies are enclosed and added to the living rooms; terraces turn into winter gardens; terrace roofs are not just roofs, they are also slabs for new floors. The notion of incremental space is deeply rooted in Turkish society based on our nomadic ancestry, where “home” is a dynamic and modular concept that is responsive to the families’ ever-changing needs.

Want to find out more? Go to the official page of the arch&design summit Istanbul here.

Impressions of ARCH&DESIGN Summit Istanbul in April 2019

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