Whether it’s for purchase or rent, there are upsides to downsizing, and as the trend towards cheaper, more convenient living continues the clamour for apartment developments has skyrocketed.
With space at a premium for these buildings in Australia’s biggest cities, the architectural challenge becomes greater. But perhaps Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects in England have found a solution.
They have obtained planning permission for a development of micro-homes made from shipping containers with green roofs in the small town of Aylesbury.
Named Gatehouse Road, the construction is also an answer for low-cost housing as they are all built from recycled shipping containers.
The one-bedroom 26.2 square-metre homes are being built on a site currently occupied by garages, with each shipping container featuring a kitchen, living area, toilet, and bedroom.
The homes will be arranged in terrace formation, progressively stepped back from each other to create a private deck area at the front and back.
Insulation will be added to the walls, roof, and floors, along with double glazing at either end to keep emissions and heating bills low.
Botanical roofs will be made from a blanket of pre-grown sedum plants, while grass and trees will be planted around the development to create a community and pro-environmental feel.
This is not the first development to be entirely built with shipping containers. Patalab Architecture recently won approval to build a nine-storey office block from the modular structures in London — making it the world’s tallest building of its kind.
When built, the office block in Whitechapel, east London, will be 26-metres-high plus a lift overrun. This will make it taller than the Freitag Store in Zurich – the current tallest building made from shipping containers.
The idea of sustainable, eco-friendly architecture is not entirely foreign in Australia. The Commons in Brunswick, Melbourne was the 2014 winner for the annual Sustainability Awards — an apartment block synonymous with minimalistic design.
But is Australia ready for micro-living?
Outside apartment buildings, Hangan custom build tiny homes fit for a spare bedroom, office space or a home to live in. But this doesn’t necessarily represent an ideal answer to minimalist apartment living.
Architect Jack Chen, of Tsai Design, may have the answer with his Type Street Apartment. His take on small footprint living led him to by shortlisted for the 2018 Housing Awards and won three categories at the 2018 ArchiTeam Awards.
He created a clever multi-purpose timber joinery box that serves all rooms and offers the luxury, comfort, and detailing found in a normal house. To overcome the constraints of the existing apartment, Jack concentrated on creating multi-functional spaces, de-cluttering, and maximising natural light.
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(Hero image credit: architectsjournal)