Recently I took a vacation with my family to New York City. We had a great time! We caught two exhibits that I thought might be of interest.
The first was an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York titled, “ Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers” open through September 15, 2013. It is a very interesting exhibit that looks at designing small spaces and the challenges with current codes and regulations in designing small spaces and units for multiple non-related adults. The exhibit has a micro studio apartment installation that transforms from a living room to bedroom with a murphy bed and many models of projects from around the world including some from San Francisco.
As the population of the world ages and family size decreases, there are more single people and elderly living alone. How do we house them? How will we live as we get older? How can we accommodate our elderly parents in our homes or near us? Where do our children live in expensive urban areas before they have a family? How do we create affordable housing for multiple adults living together? These are the questions I have been thinking about as I work with clients to make their homes flexible for today and tomorrow.
If you are interested in these topics, check out the exhibit in NYC or their website, www.makingroomnyc.com. There are also a couple of events at SPUR that might be worth checking out this month: “Micro-units in San Jose” in San Jose, July 23rd and Secondary Units: Adding to SF’s Housing Stock” in San Francisco SPUR on July 25th both are at 12:30pm. In August, “Learning from NYC” on August 5th in SF, Checkhttp://www.spur.org/events for more information.
We were lucky to catch MOMA’s current exhibit on Le Corbusier titled, “Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes” through September 23, 2013. I was reminded of one of my favorite small living spaces designed by Le Corbusier at La Tourette, a Dominican monastery in La Chaux-de-Fonds, France completed in 1960. When I was in college I spent a semester abroad studying and we went to La Tourette and spent the night. We had a fabulous dinner with the monks, followed by hearing their chants from the chapel and then retiring in the small bedrooms. I truly enjoyed my night there. The rooms were so comfortable. The scale of the space seemed to be designed for inner reflection with a connection to the outdoors and built in furniture that was functional, divided the space and quite comfortable. Looking back at my sketchbook from many years ago (see photo below), I am reminded of how small the space was. The ceiling height was low, 7’-6” and the width of the room was 6’. He used color on the back of the interior wall to add interest to a long narrow space and texture on the wall to differentiate between the bath area and the bedroom. A beautiful place and wonderful experience for an architect to be.