Maximizing Space – Tomorrow’s Micro-Apartments
One of the most important challenges in architecture today is the shortage of housing in cities due to increasing urban density. The effects of changing living habits will become evident in the not too distant future. People will start living at a place on a project-related basis, as occupational nomads of the 'Generation Y'. And they won’t be alone – entire families will live in so-called 'long-stay-apartment houses'.
Besides the need for affordable housing for families, comfortable and innovative living concepts are also needed for singles and other residences including student accommodation and retirement homes. Thus, practicality is becoming increasingly valuable and useful space must be utilized as efficiently as possible
Scalable Modular Micro-Apartments
Micro-apartments offer a possible solution. Less expensive to build and maintain, they still offer maximum comfort on minimal space thanks to modular-scalable spatial systems. Thereby a high standard of living is paired with an optimal economic output.
To show what living comfortably in a limited amount of space could look like, the project named "MicroApart 20/30 - DOMUS MEA" was presented at this year's trade fair BAU Munich. The scalable modular micro-apartment, developed by the architect Dr. Dipl. Ing. Krista Blassy and her team of the PAB Architekten (Projects Architecture Buildings), shows architectural 'downsizing', without loss of quality or value – in the line with the BAU trade fair motto: 'The future of building'.
Les Couleurs® Le Corbusier wanted to learn more about this exciting project and spoke with Dr. Blassy in an interview. The idea was to conceive modular micro-apartments, which are affordable and offer a maximum of living quality, despite the limited space. "These flexible, compact apartment solutions are becoming increasingly important for investors, architects, operators and manufacturers," says the architect Dr. Krista Blassy. "This, of course, is just one of many approaches to solve these problems, but nonetheless it is a key component within our era." In fact, the modular model "MicroApart 20/30" offers a wide range of solutions for every budget and can be implemented in both new and existing buildings.
"I can very well imagine, that the methods of 3D printing in furniture
manufacturing will loom large in ensuring the homogeneity of the elements in micro-apartments."
However, the interior fittings of DOMUS MEA (lat.: My Little Home) presented a challenge: Dr. Blassy explains, that the furniture industry is still lagging behind in terms of innovative developments for micro-apartments and the associated industrial production. For example, standardized and space-saving elements should be produced for modularly scalable interior design packages for micro-apartments.
The Architectural Polychromy Is An Effective Element In Micro-Apartments
The focus, however, is not only on intelligent space elements, but also on the colour design of these. Dr. Blassy explains: "The fact that a person feels comfortable even in a small space depends essentially on the colour concept of the room. The 63 colours of Le Corbusier's Architectural Polychromy is the perfect collection for me as it has a positive effect on the human psyche, stimulates the senses and adds a new dimension to the space. Le Corbusier's architectural colours increase quality of living especially when there is not much space . "
The first time Dr. Blassy came in touch with Le Corbusier, his architectural colours – the Architectural Polychromy – and the Modulor, a unit of measurement developed by him, was during her first years of study. From then onwards, she used the Modulor in all of her projects, also forming the basis for DOMUS MEA.
To her it was clear at an early stage, that the use of the Architectural Polychromy in the micro-apartment was the key to a flawless and impressive colour design. The architectural colours play a leading role in the spatial and human perception. She explains enthusiastically, that one can create colour concepts with the Le Corbusier colours and never make mistakes, because they all can be combined harmoniously.
"The Modulor and the Architectural Polychromy by Le Corbusier
form the basis for the measurement grid and the interior colour design of our micro-apartments."
According to Dr. Blassy, what distinguishes the Architectural Polychromy from all other colours and colour systems is its exceptional brilliance and radiance of the colour, not achievable with RAL or NCS colours. "In addition or combination, they interact seamlessly." For this reason, she uses the Architectural Polychromy in almost every project. As we spoke to her, her team had already drawn up designs for new projects, where Le Corbusier colours play an elementary role. The façade of an office block at Kurfürstenstraße in Berlin will be coated in a nuance from the Architectural Polychromy, while a student residence in Hamburg will not only have the façade but its windows and doors coloured in the Le Corbusier colours.
In Dr. Blassy's opinion, the knowledge of the impact of the psychological effect of materials and colours on the human psyche has not progressed far enough. The architect explains: "The room climate and harmony as well as the perceived size are on a unconscious basis, enormously influenced by geometry, materials used and, above all, by colours."
For this reason material and colour choice of the "MicroApp 20/30" have been well thought out: A blue carpet in 32020 bleu outremer 31, shown in DOMUS MEA, is from Les Couleurs® Le Corbusier manufacturer ANKER Professional Carpets. "Le Corbusier's blue tones move walls and objects into the distance, thereby open up the space (spatial effect); they have a soothing effect and convey the impressions of water, ocean and sky (human effect)", explains Dr. Blassy..
The light grey wall covering from ARTE, also a Les Couleurs® Le Corbusier product partner, from the ‘DOTS’ series in the colour 32013 gris clair 31 appears airy, soothes and creates a velvety atmosphere. The light grey has a neutral effect and is particularly supportive in combination with other colours.
Dr. Blassy envisions offering a premium version of her micro-apartments, furnished with a range of Les Couleurs® Le Corbusier applications. The spectrum of products that hold the official license of Les Couleurs Suisse AG, the worldwide licensor of the original Le Corbusier colours, is broad, ranging from wall paint and -covering, parquet and carpet floor, ceramic tiles and modular furniture systems, perforated components, light switches/ sockets and radiators to chairs, tables, kitchens and powder coatings. "With the Les Couleurs® Le Corbusier products, the possibilities of colour design are expanded with the Architectural Polychromy. I also see great potential for hospitality kits, as spaces may conceive entirely on the basis of the Architectural Polychromy to create an experience for the guest, "says the architect.
The (Modulor-) Architect
Dr. Krista Blassy founded PAB Architekten 25 years ago and runs offices in Erfurt, Hamburg and Munich. Her planning office PAB is built upon the three pillars "Project Management, Architecture and Construction Management". These elements stem from her education, where building construction and interior architecture were taught as a common unit.
For many years, the PAB Architekten worked as general planners mainly in the hospitality sector and with a focus on system architecture (modular structures and system measurements). They equipped the French concern ACCOR with modular hospitality kits. Thus, PAB have extended and redesigned approximately 60 hotels to date. The next major project is a complete extension of the new Ruby Hotel Lotti in Hamburg, set to open its doors in 2018. The positive feedback at BAU 2017 was extraordinary. Following the presentation of DOMUS MEA many inquiries and cooperation offers have been made whilst plans for new projects in Portugal, Vietnam and a hotel chain in Switzerland are already in the making.
"Particularly in the development of interior systems and standardized hospitality kits,
Le Corbusier's Modulor was utilised, to facilitate fast assembly."
"Particularly in the development of interior systems and standardized hospitality kits, the unit used is based on Le Corbusier's Modulor, to facilitate fast assembly", says Dr. Blassy, who has been using only the Modulor since the start of her career. "The Architectural Polychromy and the Modulor where thought and implemented in practical exercises at the Dresden University of Technology. At that time standardized, modular construction was far more common in residential and industrial urban development."
Her most memorable experience with Le Corbusier, was on her first journey, before the fall of the Berlin wall, to Ronchamp in France. Fascinated by the beauty of the church of Notre-Dame-du-Haut, the play of colours, the light and shade, she recalls the almost 'magical architecture' : "This is still the most impressive building I know."
When asked why she is so enthusiastic about the father of purism, she explains that the incredible multifacetedness of Le Corbusier impresses her as deeply as the fact that he always gained new insights through hard work, which he self-consciously transformed into his sculptures, furniture and art works, as well as his entire work.