Like smartphones, urban homes are becoming smaller and more efficient. Simply look at the size of condominiums being built today; they represent a move toward multi-functional spaces with a smaller footprint. Take, for example, the Smart House. Currently under construction in Toronto, it is scheduled to be complete by 2017.
(Impression provided by Smart House)
Although condos have reduced in size over the years, the development consortium behind the Smarthouse building, consisting of Urban Capital, Malibu Investments Inc, Architects Alliance, II by IV Designs and Market Vision, take this trend to the next level. Units are generally only 300 square feet, which is smaller than your average garage.
The Bathroom (Impression provided by Smart House)
The designers are going to great lengths to use every centimeter as efficiently as possible. However, what it may lack in space, the mini condo will make up for in ingenuity. In all liklihood, it will take a future owner quite some time to discover all of the fantastic, space-saving tricks of their new digs. Many features, such as the lights, temperature control, windows and the sound system will be operated with the touch of a button on your smartphone.
Turn your couch into a bed in the blink of an eye (Impression provided by Smart House)
Buyers can expect to find things like a space-saving, modern take on the classic Murphy bed, or a fully-functional expandable kitchen where even the likes of Jamie Oliver could prepare a feast. The resulting concept is very sleek and contemporary.
Have a look at all the hidden cabinets in the kitchen (Impression provided by Smart House)
Although this is the first mini condo under construction in Toronto, don’t fret if you missed the signup. After all, the smaller a unit is in size, the higher the profit margin per square foot. As this is an attractive idea to most developers, it is likely we will see more of these buildings popping up soon.
Kitchen in normal mode (Impression provided by Smart House)
The downside of it all, you ask? It is true that the mini condo may thrive in a market where single households outnumber couples and families, and that the design and technology will definitely thrill, but the need for such spaces comes on the heels of more unwelcome trends; overcrowding and climbing real estate prices are swiftly growing problems in cities like Toronto. For many, the mini condo will not be a choice, but a neccessity. For the time being though, we are very impressed with the attention to detail and sly design of these unique urban spaces, and would love to see one from the inside. How about you?
For more information please have a look at the Smarthouse website here.
Researched and Written by Jan van Deursen, recent MSc graduate in Human Geography and Housing at the University of Amsterdam