"The house of the future should represent the lifestyle of young people."
We're soft touches for anything called a House of the Future, but houses from the past can be pretty interesting too. Dot Architects have completed what they call the Baitasi House of the Future, but built it inside an old house in the Baitasi Hutong district of Beijing.
It was built for Whaley Technology, a Shanghai company going after young eyeballs. The tiny 30 m2 (323 SF) house is designed around what the architects think suits the lifestyles of young people.
The house of the future should represent such a lifestyle of young people. They can fluidly shift between work and home. Access and convenience are more important to them than ownership. The possibilities of home space outweigh its physical dimension. The boundary between home and society is blurred by the rise of the sharing economy, nomad workers and technology. Our lives are fragmented and cannot be accommodated by a fixed layout.
In a manner reminiscent of TreeHugger founder Graham's LifeEdited apartment, it is one big open space with two moveable modules that can make it change from a three-bedroom apartment into one large open space.
According to the architects' comments on Archdaily, "The moveable modules are controlled by a smart TV. This TV system also controls lighting modes, curtains, security alarm and other home appliances." But on the video it looks like they are pushed around by hand.
Watching the video, it seems like there is a lot of schlepping of stuff, from folding out walls to assembling the large working table for office mode. It looks like it would take two people to do it, which is unfortunate.
There is also a new kitchen and bathroom attached, built using the WikiHouse system seen on TreeHugger here, where components are cut out on a CNC router.
It really doesn't look like a house of the future, compared to many others we have shown; it's subtle. The architects note:
Compared to many futuristic designs, this tiny house is nothing close to future at the first look. But its humble appearance and user adaptive interior may reflect something about the future in the ancient capital.
Most of the Hutongs have been destroyed but the ones that are left are hot properties now, and are being restored and renovated. Some of the ones we have shown on TreeHugger retain little of the original materials and designs, but Dot Architects have tried to "reveal the beauty of traditional Chinese wooden structure." That roof may be new, but the woodwork is beautiful.