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Small Spaces – Big Ideas

New (and old) approaches to living in the inner city.

Kent Larson architect and director of MIT’s House_n research group presented at TED last year. He outlined his group’s design ideas to approach the worlds inner city population explosion, of which Melbourne is a participant.

The House_n groups proposals question the nature of what we build and how we occupy our spaces. The current glut of high rise apartment stock is at odds with the strong demand for other typologies of small housing near the city. This suggests that the current apartments offer isn’t attractive to people looking to enter the market.

Kent argues that the ideal model for small aparment living (view from 11 minutes in) is a open loft ‘shell’ containing basic building services, that the tenant can occupy and fit out according to their needs.

His lab is investigating sensor networks that will inform a adaptive and responsive architecture inside the apartment shell. Walls, partitions, joinery and lighting that move and alter. Accommodating radically different uses of the space throughout the week.One can’t help but think that this is a particularly ‘west coast’, overtly technical approach to the problem. A couple of Aussie architects have recently completed studio apartment fitouts with our lifestyle in mind. Architecture Architecture turned their hand to a fitout in the Cairo Apartments, located in the heart of Fitzroy. The 1930’s era 24sqm space is made neat and functional with a well designed joinery unit.




Last years Potts Point apartment fitout by Anthony Gill Architects, looks at another studio apartment under 40sqm. It manages to provide accommodation for young family, small child and their library within the tiny footprint.




In part it’s a return to old ways – both these projects inhabit apartment shells that were built in the past. These small studios with outlook, light, amenity and character look to be the way of the future as well.




Introducing Julian Faelli to the Secret Agent Team. Julian comes from a strong background in architecture, industrial design and project management. He is the head of our design and construction division: Create by Secret Agent.
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