Morphing Apartment – The Lifestyle to Lower Carbon Footprint

Small Space. I remember when I was 17 and was about to move into my small 145 square feet room, well which is part of the considerable small 1150 square feet apartment. That would be the size of a typical small 3 rooms apartment in Malaysia.. otherwise, you would observe the upcoming trend of SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) support the GenY preference of working from home with small, serviced based business.

So I was working in IKEA as well during that time, and I was very impressed by the functionality of the Pax series wardrobe and hence I thought my design for my all-Ikea-furniture room seems perfect for space utilization! But until when I saw this! Graham Hill, which is also the founder of TreeHugger came out with an ideal apartment in New York, resulted in 300 design entries, 2 students work are selected and built upon their ideas. Look at how he utilizes 420 square feet space!

That’s just the short 5 minutes video, however, you could see more of it at the 19 minutes video below. So yes you have counted, Kitchen, Toilet, 2 Bedrooms that fits 4 people, Audio Visual Room, Dining Space, Working space and Living Room – All adds up to 8 spaces. With this morphing, constant evolving concept, of course with some minor compromises to live with, I would definitely want to seek into this simplicity, minimalist design space. One could identify the huge space when they enter at first glance, thanks to white, clean finishes with plenty of daylight as well.

Treehugger house (2)

The very simple approach of this is to knock down all the walls, think about multiple spatial planning and hide all the services appliances as much as possible. By eliminating the permanent walls, one could rearrange the functional spaces into a decent one without constraints of space, what more when you have a morphing concept space arrangement?

Treehugger house2 (2)

Less Stuff + Less Space = More Money + More Happiness

I personally love this space very much as I am sure it works very well for both ergonomics and economics reason. Of course one would pay more for per square foot basis compared to a typical apartment, but you are paying for a space that functions for 8 spaces! It’s true that with such design that could utilize the storage space by ensuring floor to ceiling and wall to wall cabinets, one could find a well-organized space that all the mess has to go behind the hidden cabinets. And of course with limited space, thus limits your stuff as well which is good of course. Considering the amount of storage space here, I suppose it is quite sufficient for one or two to stay.

Treehugger house

What blows me off with this design is that they took it to the micro details level that rethought the entire ergonomic factors of a small space. Everything has to be minimal and designed to save space and yet does not sacrifice the productivity of the routine. Examples would be the 10 stackable chairs that could fit into the cabinet and that goes around a telescopic dining table.

Clothes are chosen based on specific anti bacterial fabric material that can be worn for times and thus cutting down the washing times, cooking utensils are chosen wisely as well, the number of dining utensils is reduced by usage of multi-functional ones such as spork. Fridge is sized just right for 1 or 2 people and so many other things!

Treehugger house1

It also really makes sense as the minimalist design boasts white finishes and a little touch of wooden floor and cabinet finishes. With plenty of daylight from the 5 windows shining into the 420 SQ feet space, one could be assured daylight is sufficient. Even the finishes such as stone or wood, they are all reused or FSC certified.

Treehugger house2

In terms of  low carbon footprint routine, this is well practiced with the presence of electronic food waste composer and the solar panels fitted outside the window that could charge small power appliances, oh and also a sufficient space for your bicycle storage.

Treehugger house1 (2)

For more info on where they got the cool furniture, here’s the link to Resource Furniture. This is the longer 19 minutes video which I assure you will get a better picture 😉

What IF green building certification is given on the basis of carbon footprint per person?

Then, this sparks into my mind, since this mini morphing apartment seems to fit into the picture of low carbon footprint living. While it is known that various green building certifications play a major role in transforming the building industry towards a greener one in a practical realistic manner, at times I wish that they are credited based on carbon footprint. While it seems to be something complicated due to the lack of data to justify and needs to take a significant amount of time to chart out a more appropriate solution, perhaps through carbon credit.

This is because it’s more direct and true to justify how low a person’s carbon footprint is with his house and everything, IN his house.

Going minimalist deserves some acknowledgments in the certifications I suppose, such as taking off the tiles and paints.. and just being minimalist, while it still respects architecture aesthetics and the natural environment greatly, and obviously makes one happier.


Sekeping Serendah. Credit pic to Google images

While the green building ratings serve their purpose to make things right in the industry, there are still the rich who can afford big houses and big helicopters instead of cars while still earning platinum awards for their homes, while the poor who live in their very own self-built house which does not comply with building codes for regulation matters, but yet performing well in terms of carbon footprint..

well, that’s just a thought. Besides it is very arguable that a building with high green building certification necessary guarantees a low carbon footprint building, given that the occupants matter the most in any green building designed. The very simple formula:

Smart Building + Dumb People = Dumb Buildings ;

Dumb Building + Smart People = Smart Buildings

Occupants matters.