We've often talked about how sometimes the greenest building is the one that's still standing, and how adaptive reuse can give older buildings a second life, repurposing them for something other than their original function. It may or may not save money, but it does save a lot of waste from going to the landfill, and can help to preserve the character of a neighbourhood.
In the same spirit, Dezeen shows how Portuguese design firm Waataa transformed an old office building in Lisbon into a series of compact studio apartments. Each has been equipped with convertible furniture units that include fold-away beds and tables, to help maximize space.
The designers took full advantage of the tall ceilings and the large windows in the apartments, installing cabinets in the walls, and creating brightly coloured modules for different functions. The blue ones are designated for sleeping, with a Murphy-style bed hidden within, while the yellow containers denote the kitchen space, with a mezzanine above for rest, work and entertaining guests. The colours also add a visual pop to the otherwise white space. The designers say:
It is essentially these containers that organize the functions and define the space of the house. It can be said that in a hollow and incipient solid, a scenario is created through the introduction of modules that make the overlapping and intertwining of spatial functions.
It is with these modules that the inhabitant will interact and experience his existential space of refuge. He will open and close, get up and down, transforming his daily experience.
To go upstairs to the mezzanine, one ascends by the way of these alternating tread stairs, made out of painted particleboard.
Directly below the mezzanine is the bathroom, each with a skylight built in.
While some people may find having to fold beds and tables down and up a hassle, these mechanisms do save space, and can offer an extra bit of interactivity with one's living space that ultimately becomes part of the experience. For more, visit Waataa.