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Tiny apartments provide choice

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Could it be unfair or even disrespectful to call tiny apartments dog boxes if that is the accommodation choice of its occupier? Perhaps poorly designed apartments deserve the title, but this just highlights that size is not the issue. For tiny apartments, clever design is key.

Planning and design regulations like those in Victoria such as (the awkwardly named) BADS – (Better Apartment Design Standards) can create a minimum apartment size by default via its compliance requirements.  The guidelines talk about things like separation of living and sleeping areas, outdoor areas, cross flow ventilation, natural light etc.

These are all super important considerations. But what if someone would like to reduce their rental bill for a period of their life? Most would agree that they should have the options available to do so. Sometimes sharing a room in a larger apartment could be worse for your health and well-being than living in a tiny apartment by yourself. Most of us have horror house share stories.

Design and planning guidelines are often about improving the amenity as well as living and accommodation standards. This is obviously important. But it needs to be balanced and enable choice or diversity of accommodation.

By default, the architects of our design and planning rules are also making lifestyle choices for thousands of people. Is that fair? Or should we be provided with a broad range of residential accommodation options and be free to choose how and where we live within our budget.

Obviously, basic health and safety standards need to apply which is easily done with smart design, great common facilities and base building standards. Safety is paramount which is governed by things like building materials, ventilation, gas and electrical checks, fire regulations and minimum standards for renters.

Building smaller apartments could make a big dent in the current rental crisis by providing much needed rental accommodation for our growing population. This includes population spikes from the valuable cultural and economic contribution of international students.

The design of tiny apartments challenge architects to create clever solutions. It is lazy design to make a small apartment uninspiring and depressing. Thankfully there are many amazing examples of clever designs in new and old apartments. They use integrated features and furniture to transition smaller spaces to fulfil multiple functions such as working from home, watching TV, making dinner, eating, entertaining and sleeping. A thoughtfully designed tiny apartment can be a very cool and inspiring place to live.

In almost any European city, tiny apartments of under 30sq m are commonplace. Many are much smaller. No one calls them dog boxes. In fact, they are usually highly sought after and very edgy loft apartments in the best locations.

The Victorian Government planning department is currently considering scrapping the need for car parking requirements in certain apartment projects. I wrote about this issue in 2015. This would allow proposed apartment projects that are not financially feasible due to the cost of providing basement carparking, to be built and add much needed housing.

It feels like it is time to reset the way we view and design tiny apartments to give us a broader choice of residential housing and help us through the different stages of our lives.

Here are some examples of incredible designs that make great use of every inch in small or tiny apartments.

Tiny Melbourne Apartment Design

Such a clever idea on this apartment

28sq metre apartment conversion 

1960’s Rushcutters Bay apartment

Melbourne Micro apartment challenging convention 

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Written by a 4th generation real estate agent Apartments Made Easy gives you the tools and tells you all you need to know about how to buy, sell, own, lease, and manage your apartment successfully.

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