After Two Months in the Micro-Compact Home

Germany's science and party-trivia show, Galileo, this week reported on the experience of the few Munich students lucky enough to have gotten a place in the micro-compact home village experiment. Seven micro-compact homes were set up to test one possible solution to the over-crowded student housing market in Munich, more importantly to test the big question: can a person live comfortably in 2.6 by 2.6 meter? The results are in: Galileo filmed and interviewed one student's experience.Galileo showed the installation of the teeny homes. Easily transported on a flatbed, the cubes were set in place by a crane with the help of a specially designed bracket so that the uneven weight caused by the heavy kitchen installations opposite the light bed and dining area would not upset the positioning on the pre-installed footings bordering the (rust-free) aluminum terrace and steps. The micro-compact home can then be wired and cabled through fittings designed to make it nearly a plug-and-play relocation experience. Each home in the experimental village has its own small garden, which seems like an essential balance to the restricted living indoors.

Paying 125€ (US$150) rent per month certainly counted as a plus for students in a city where students struggle to cover the costs of living in the most humble of rooms. Complaints surfaced about the bathing facilities; although the technology was admired: a low-flow shower head fitted in a bathroom with slats in the floor to allow water to run through, the student remarked that moistness remained a problem and some ventilation of the mini-bathroom was essential. A second problem was the fire detector, installed above the cooking area. It must be removed before meal preparation or the steam from cooking will set it off. Each of the students in the village keeps a log-book of such complaints, which will be used to improve the next generation.

While admitting to a preference to meeting friends in cafes or public houses (what college student doesn't), the student reported finding the micro-compact home very comfortable to return to for studying with the help of the large flat-screen computer monitor mounted on one wall. And with the usual friendships formed between fellow students, it is common that cooking and meals are shared. A time-lapse of two people preparing a meal on the two induction cookers and in the microwave oven showed a delicate dance of shared space, but four people fit comfortably around the table to enjoy the results. The micro-compact home announces space for 4-5 at dinner, but all agreed five to be tight. And the closing scene of four relaxing in front of the monitor-turned-tv was a cozy gathering that clearly relied on at least two of the crowed being really good friends.

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