Today's generation of young people, aged between 25 to 35 years of age, are more mobile and connected than ever, and are generally putting off marriage and kids until much later. Many gravitate towards urban centres for good jobs and a better arts and culture scene. The generational situation is similar in Europe; in the Spanish capital of Madrid, single-person households are on the rise, despite the recent economic crisis. Arantza Ozaeta Cortázar and Álvaro Martín Fidalgo of Madrid's TallerDE2 Arquitectos address this growing "singles" phenomenon in their recent renovation of an apartment for a "recently emancipated" 30-something, based on the idea of domestic, functional "travelling suitcases" that adapt to the user's ever-changing needs.
Calling it the Pop-Up House, the architects completely gutted the interior of a 737-square-foot apartment dating back to the 1950s, installing in its place a series of 54 modular units that each serve a function, be it eating, entertaining, washing or watching television.
The 54 units are part of what the designers call a "dense domestic infrastructure," a "gathering element" that is a backdrop for all of the occupant's activities:
This gathering element does not move, however it is unfolded. It is affixed to the supply connections and arranges a generic space around it –a laboratory for experiences, relationships, tolerances, overlaps and multiplicities. This space is activated when the dweller turns the infrastructural devices on. By opening and closing, extending and contracting, sliding and folding it up, the home is restructured, expanded, fragmented, connected or isolated. Here, the room does not contain a wardrobe, but the wardrobe contains a room.
By using this strategy of gathering everything into a thinner but denser profile, the architects claim that whereas there was only 50 percent of free space in the old layout, the new design augments available space to 77 percent.
Panels of oriented strand board (OSB) are used throughout to save money and to achieve a visual consistency. Handles are used to indicate where these functional folds occur to reveal a shower, a table, a shelf. Tiles and wallpaper are used in various places to recall those elegant linings found in classic suitcases.
There are plenty of interesting details and concepts in this project, but this growing trend of single, "independent people who don't want to share" could be a troubling one. After all, singles could be a "a potential environmental time bomb" unless they consciously downsize and become part of the sharing economy. More over at TallerDE2 Arquitectos.