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How do We Want to Live?
A free and sustainable lifestyle in coexistence
A book to review the architecture of “home-based work”
The benefits of collaborative housing, compiled in a documentary
- Eye on Design
The design of ideal homes comes from imagining how we wish our daily lives to be, creating living spaces that provide freedom, mobility and integration into a community.
As a consequence of population growth and the high density in cities, we are currently facing a worrisome habitability reality, in which real estate prices increase disproportionately while the square footage of apartments decreases, thus making it totally inaccessible to the younger generations to buy a home.
Although we live in cities surrounded by many people, it is true that social interaction tends to decrease and, paradoxically, we feel increasingly lonely. Based on these two premises, we will have to design living spaces that respond to this new reality.
Privacy in homes
We have always believed that the privacy provided by a space turns it into our home, when the truth is that any space can be considered habitable if it meets basic needs such as rest, daily grooming, safety, entertainment, the storage of our things and only very recently, work. An example of this are the places that momentarily adopt the functions of our home: eating at the university or office, taking a shower in the gym, sleeping in hotels, or having a good time in cinemas or theaters.
We don’t usually question whether our homes are private, or whether they cease to be when we share them with friends, family or neighbors. For this reason, to conceive the new space we wish to inhabit in the future, we must start by breaking down the spaces of a traditional home and establishing the privacy that corresponds to each room.
This approach has led to concepts that have revolutionized both the workplace, such as the coworking trend, and later on the real estate market with the cohousing concept. Both models prioritize common spaces and respond to certain concerns about the private use of living spaces.
The new concepts of living spaces to be designed to face this reality should offer an alternative lifestyle, much more flexible and adaptable to the economy of people without sacrificing space, location or comfort. To do this, they must offer innovative features and concepts that also guarantee a sustainable development.
These new living spaces that question privacy will be conceived as a network of domestic spaces made up of common and private areas that complement each other.
Common spaces will have a shared use and, at the same time, will offer the possibility of providing some privacy if needed. As a complement, private rooms will be needed as bedrooms and bathrooms to provide the comfort required for these uses.
To offer freedom and mobility to users, this network of living spaces will have modules scattered throughout the city, both in the center and on the outskirts. This will allow each person to have a living space at their disposal when and where they require it.
At an urban level, this distribution of living spaces and the transit of people will generate synergies between the center and the outskirts of the city and as a consequence, will boost the development of new centers in the future.
On the other hand, new living spaces should have a flexible and sustainable character. They would be designed on the basis of a modular system that could provide a tangible solution, and in this way homes can grow and decrease, adapting to the needs in each stage of life.
Nowadays, we are the ones who adapt to homes. If the family grows, parents search for a larger space, which they will no longer require when the children leave home, so they will look for a smaller home. In short, now and in the future, the new design concepts demand that homes adapt to us and not the other way round.
Sustainability is essential and indispensable in all current designs. For this reason, these new living spaces must have sustainability strategies to optimize the existing resources and cause a positive impact on the environment by seeking the well-being of future generations.
These strategies could be a compilation of many we are already implementing. Starting with architecture, which can be prefabricated with local resources to optimize materials and reduce the carbon footprint and waste to a minimum.
In addition to this, we will be able to apply solar energy systems, the heating of water with renewable energy, sustainable heating and air-conditioning strategies for interiors, green rooftops, recycling of gray water, waste recycling and composting processes, among others. From the social point of view, a space with these strategies will create awareness, sustainable habits and a sense of belonging in the people that inhabit it.
The new proposals of living spaces should promote an unlimited vision of the different lifestyles we currently lead, tailored to each person, removing any limits of space, mobility, time and coexistence.
Main Image:Panoramic coliving render, Habitat project. Image courtesy Virginia Herrera