ruminations about architecture and design

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

michael sorkin on microhousing

Actually, this apartment building doesn't have microunits, but Sorkin mentioned it in a positive way in an essay on modern housing patterns. Writing for the Nation magazine, Sorkin blasted the concept of microhousing because it threatens to turn the clock back on efforts to ease urban congestion and is mainly a way to pad developer profits. The fad qualities of microhousing, and the fact that it is deeply inferior to the alternatives (thus spake the suburban homeowner) means I'm not concerned about the possibility that it will overwhelm cities and plunge us back into the dark ages. However, after looking at some of the living conditions in Asia, I can see the slippery slope of high density construction at play. First they take the bedroom, then they take the kitchen, and then the bathroom, and closets, and a desk, and a window--and why do the ceilings need to be at least seven feet high, anyway?

The issue of individual choice gets overwhelmed by economic forces that push safety, comfort, and family relationships out the window. But, we got rid of the window, because there was no code requirement for a window. I can make a design for a 400 s.f. house work, but there won't be a lot of elbow room. At some point, things fall apart and no amount of clever marketing can conceal the barbaric nature of the architecture.

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