Rumah Kecil: a Tiny House Extra Large

Some time ago I took part in a design competition organized by the Sint Trudo housing corporation in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. The assignment was to design a condo, a compact apartment in an urban context. To be precise: in Strijp-S, the former Philips area, which is being developed into a vibrant city district.

My submission did not win a prize, but I nevertheless want to show it on my blog. The name of my design: Ruma Kecil, which is Indonesian for Tiny House.
Top view of a condo, a compact urban appartment in Eindhoven, the Netherlands with sitting area, bed on top of sanitary space and cabinet wall

Luxury

The word condo, I suppose, is derived from condominium, frequently used in the United States for an apartment complex with communal facilities. Usually those are not compact homes, but spacious, luxury apartments where wealthy seniors can enjoy their old days.

The primary target group for the Saint Trudo’s apartments is, I estimate, half a century younger. “Somebody who chooses to live in a metropolitan context, per se in a bustling area, where there’s things to do both day and night, all days of the week. A confident person who stands for his freedom and who goes his own way.”, according to the brief. In other words: an urban citizen who likes to go outside, but also sometimes wants to retreat at a comfortable place. And who from time to time also likes to receive some friends for a meal, party or drink.

The brief asked for a house that, despite its limited area, is considered luxurious and surprising. An urban cocoon with the characteristics of “spaciousness, air and light, detailing and orderliness“. And all in the immediate vicinity of common facilities such as laundry, dry cleaning, cooking studio, guest room, cafe and roof garden.

View from outside to a condo, a compact urban luxury appartment for two people and a cat

Tiny House

The dimensions of the condo to be designed were fixed: 7.20 x 7.20 meters at a free height of 3.60 meters. That’s not really a tiny house, because those can often be loaded in a pickup truck. But it’s getting close. You could call it a tiny house extra large.

Such a small, high space of course asks for the stacking of functions: sleeping on top of the sanitary space and storage under the seating area. Otherwise the top one an a half metre of the appartment would be of no use at all.

Axonometric artist impression of a condo, a compact urban appartment.

Furniture

The sanitary space with toilet, shower and sink, was designed as a piece of furniture which was placed in the room in such a way that it creates an entrance zone near the front door. In architectural language: it shapes and softens the transition from private to public. On the outside of this sanitary block is a compact kitchen, closable with a folding wall. On top of it we find a spacious loft bed.

Interior drawing of a condo, a compact luxury appartment for two people and a cat.

Levels

The height of the space is further exploited by introducing a number of levels that naturally create areas for different activities without forcing a specific use. The transition between places and pieces of furniture was left deliberately vague to give the residents maximum freedom in the way they use the space.

For example, the dining table blends into the workplace, which in turn flows into the living area floor and in the lounge area cushions. The seating around the dining table becomes the lounge floor, which in itself forms a step towards the loft bed.

Section through a condo, a compact urban appartment, showing a large multifunctional cabinet wall

Cabinet wall

To keep the space open as much as possible, the storage space is concentrated in a multifunctional cabinet wall that covers an entire wall. There is room for wardrobe, shelf rack, wardrobe, laundry basket, ironing board, fridge and freezer. There is also
a casual seat here with bay window qualities. For larger objects, storage space is found under the floor between workplace and sitting area.

Interior view of a condo, a compact urban appartment, looking from the sitting area to the kitchen and the workspace

Cat

The program of requirements refers to two residents. I added a cat to the visualizations, who will probably have a lot of fun, playing with all those different levels. We’ll never know if this frivolity cost me the victory in the competition.

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