photos by James Carrillo
As people move back downtown, and as more office and factory buildings become superfluous, it is a logical fit to convert them to residential or live-work. For his thesis at Cranbrook, Andrew Kline looked at the issue of how one could do this with a minimum of disturbance. He "created an interior living unit that facilitates the functions of a home in an existing space with little or no renovation."- The Interior Living Unit.
the unit is composed of 9 pieces, sized to fit through standard doorways and be combined in the space within. The unit centralizes the program requirements of a home allowing the space around the unit to be used for other uses, such as workspace. The unit folds (closed) and unfolds (open) to reveal different functions when needed: a wardrobe, bed, kitchen, and bathroom.
When the unit is folded (closed) the private program requirements of a home are removed and the surrounding space or workspace can be utilized for public uses. For example: a yoga instructor could live in the same space he or she teaches in. These units, utilized in vacant buildings, can build communities in hollow urban areas.
Many years ago Toronto architect Paul Reuber did a renovation of a loft where he built pods like this in the middle of the open spaces; he put the beds on top instead of the Murphy style shown here. It worked well and could be an option.
Of course, hookups will be needed to water, power and waste, so you can't just move in anywhere. But it is a tremendous way of minimizing the intervention required to make space habitable, a sort of trailer home for the urban interior. More at Andrew Kline's Interior Living Unit, found on Dezeen.