When it comes time to renovate your existing home or build a new one, there are lots of important decisions to make. How will your home be used? How much space do you need? How will that space be divided? While traditional home design relies on multiple independent spaces existing side-by-side, this paradigm is slowly changing. From movable walls and sliding rooms through to rooftops that open to the sky, transforming homes allow people to adapt their domestic space to meet the needs of their lifestyle.
Home design has gone through a number of phases over the years, from small discrete rooms through to open-plan living spaces. While large houses generally consist of multiple independent spaces, not everyone wants or needs a large home. Adaptive architecture is all about working with existing spatial constraints in order to create workable rooms with multiple functionality. With apartment living getting more common around the world and large suburban homes more expensive than ever before, people are learning to change their lives by thinking inside the box.
Movable walls are the most common example of transforming spaces, including partitions between kitchen and living areas and walls between inside and outside spaces. Movable walls are a great way to change your home on a daily basis, with small cosy rooms transforming into large modern spaces with the slide of a hand or push of a button. Along with being a great lifestyle solution, movable walls can also help you to save money on heating bills during the winter months.
While movable walls have been around since the 60s and 70s through designers such as Joe Colombo and Ken Isaacs, the idea of the transforming home has entered new territory in the last few years. Spatial limitations and new high-tech materials have helped architects get more adventurous, with examples including retractable rooftops, sliding bedrooms, and transforming furniture. The Sharifi-Ha house in Tehran by Nextoffice is one of the best examples of this new paradigm, with three wooden boxes within a fixed space able to rotate and extend outward with the push of a button.
Adaptive homes are not just clever space-saving solutions, they're also a great way to work with the natural environment instead of fighting against it. The D*Haus concept is a fantastic example that takes its cues from a mathematical problem, with the structure folding into eight configurations to alter the amount of heat and sunlight entering the building. With thick insulated walls in winter and glazed glass panels in summer, the occupants of these clever houses really can have the best of both worlds.
If you think about it, you are only ever in one room at a time. While this concept needs to be extended to meet the needs of large family groups, we never inhabit all of our space all the time. The modern transforming home is all about taking advantage of the space we do have to meet the needs of our lifestyle and climate. While not everyone will want to live in a high-tech transforming home, the ideas of adaptability and flexibility will continue to filter down into home design and renovation projects.
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