Living in Little Boxes

Little HouseFor years, it has been reported that standard homesizes (with the US being the glaring exception) are shrinking. How small is too small? And what is the relationship between liveable space, architecture, community, and sustainability? In this article from the Independent, RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) “slams” the (non) architectural standards of suburban house building.

Architects have criticised the “shameful shoe-box homes” being built in Britain today, saying many are too small for family life. Research by the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) found the floor area of the average new three-bedroom home in the UK is 88 sq m, some 8 sq m short of the recommended space.

One-bedroom properties, at an average of 46 sq m, are 4 sq m smaller than the recommended size, the Case For Space study found. This is the equivalent of a single bed, a bedside table and a dressing table with a stool, the report said.

In reports published today, Riba chief executive Harry Rich said: “Our homes should be places that enhance our lives and well-being.

“However, as our new research confirms, thousands of cramped houses — shameful shoe-box homes — are being churned out all over the country, depriving households of the space they need to live comfortably and cohesively.”

The institute’s study of three-bedroom houses was based on a sample of 3,418 homes across 71 sites in England. The research was based on the London Plan space standards which have recently been introduced into the capital.

More in the Independent

, , , , ,

  • Wanooski

    Do people like the small housing? Do they simply forge their lives in a way that makes living in smaller homes tolerable? Do people adapt? Are the people at RIBA just a bunch of whiners? Are there really any other options at this point? Why do these RIBA people not seem to consider that people could use the outside of their homes to enhance their lives and well being?

    If there is one thing I don’t like it’s studies and experiments with perameters set too narrowly and outside variables not taken into account.

    It’s like this show they had on discovery or nat geo called I, Caveman with that morgan spurlock guy. What do they do? They drop a bunch of random people into living conditions from 20,000 years ago and ask if it is tolerable and crap like that. Do they have children in the experiment? No. Do they take into account that people living in that situation would have intimate knowledge of their landbase and local ecology? No. Are the people forming normal human relations and having sex? No. Nothing like what it really would have been like for the people that really lived those lifestyles. All I could do was yell at the TV the whole time and criticize their methodology.

  • Wanooski

    Do people like the small housing? Do they simply forge their lives in a way that makes living in smaller homes tolerable? Do people adapt? Are the people at RIBA just a bunch of whiners? Are there really any other options at this point? Why do these RIBA people not seem to consider that people could use the outside of their homes to enhance their lives and well being?

    If there is one thing I don’t like it’s studies and experiments with perameters set too narrowly and outside variables not taken into account.

    It’s like this show they had on discovery or nat geo called I, Caveman with that morgan spurlock guy. What do they do? They drop a bunch of random people into living conditions from 20,000 years ago and ask if it is tolerable and crap like that. Do they have children in the experiment? No. Do they take into account that people living in that situation would have intimate knowledge of their landbase and local ecology? No. Are the people forming normal human relations and having sex? No. Nothing like what it really would have been like for the people that really lived those lifestyles. All I could do was yell at the TV the whole time and criticize their methodology.

  • Wanooski

    Do people like the small housing? Do they simply forge their lives in a way that makes living in smaller homes tolerable? Do people adapt? Are the people at RIBA just a bunch of whiners? Are there really any other options at this point? Why do these RIBA people not seem to consider that people could use the outside of their homes to enhance their lives and well being?

    If there is one thing I don’t like it’s studies and experiments with perameters set too narrowly and outside variables not taken into account.

    It’s like this show they had on discovery or nat geo called I, Caveman with that morgan spurlock guy. What do they do? They drop a bunch of random people into living conditions from 20,000 years ago and ask if it is tolerable and crap like that. Do they have children in the experiment? No. Do they take into account that people living in that situation would have intimate knowledge of their landbase and local ecology? No. Are the people forming normal human relations and having sex? No. Nothing like what it really would have been like for the people that really lived those lifestyles. All I could do was yell at the TV the whole time and criticize their methodology.

  • Wanooski

    Do people like the small housing? Do they simply forge their lives in a way that makes living in smaller homes tolerable? Do people adapt? Are the people at RIBA just a bunch of whiners? Are there really any other options at this point? Why do these RIBA people not seem to consider that people could use the outside of their homes to enhance their lives and well being?

    If there is one thing I don’t like it’s studies and experiments with perameters set too narrowly and outside variables not taken into account.

    It’s like this show they had on discovery or nat geo called I, Caveman with that morgan spurlock guy. What do they do? They drop a bunch of random people into living conditions from 20,000 years ago and ask if it is tolerable and crap like that. Do they have children in the experiment? No. Do they take into account that people living in that situation would have intimate knowledge of their landbase and local ecology? No. Are the people forming normal human relations and having sex? No. Nothing like what it really would have been like for the people that really lived those lifestyles. All I could do was yell at the TV the whole time and criticize their methodology.

  • Anarchy Pony

    Do people like the small housing? Do they simply forge their lives in a way that makes living in smaller homes tolerable? Do people adapt? Are the people at RIBA just a bunch of whiners? Are there really any other options at this point? Why do these RIBA people not seem to consider that people could use the outside of their homes to enhance their lives and well being?

    If there is one thing I don’t like it’s studies and experiments with perameters set too narrowly and outside variables not taken into account.

    It’s like this show they had on discovery or nat geo called I, Caveman with that morgan spurlock guy. What do they do? They drop a bunch of random people into living conditions from 20,000 years ago and ask if it is tolerable and crap like that. Do they have children in the experiment? No. Do they take into account that people living in that situation would have intimate knowledge of their landbase and local ecology? No. Are the people forming normal human relations and having sex? No. Why do they not make it more like the native americans a mere 700 years ago? No explanation. Could the people engage in art? Did they have the skills to be creative with their clothing? Nothing like what it really would have been like for the people that really lived those lifestyles. All I could do was yell at the TV the whole time and criticize their methodology.

  • iPINCH

    i moved a 9 room victorian to a 3 floor 2 bed room condo and i love it. way easier to clean and it feels a lot warmer then the big house. but the more people and pets you have logically the more space you need. is going  over the top more comfortable? i think not

  • iPINCH

    i moved a 9 room victorian to a 3 floor 2 bed room condo and i love it. way easier to clean and it feels a lot warmer then the big house. but the more people and pets you have logically the more space you need. is going  over the top more comfortable? i think not

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    The drive to manufacture such hatefully tiny crapboxes is mostly financial…to offer a product that, even exorbitantly priced, is still cheaper than anything larger and more comfy…and people will take their money where they can get something for it.

    If they really want a change in the type of houses being made…then issue numero uno will have to be stomping the prices in the UK market back into something recognizable as the price of a home…not the cost of a palatial estate on a tropical island.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    The drive to manufacture such hatefully tiny crapboxes is mostly financial…to offer a product that, even exorbitantly priced, is still cheaper than anything larger and more comfy…and people will take their money where they can get something for it.

    If they really want a change in the type of houses being made…then issue numero uno will have to be stomping the prices in the UK market back into something recognizable as the price of a home…not the cost of a palatial estate on a tropical island.

  • emperorreagan

    My fiance and I live in a 1 bedroom condo that’s ~46 sq m.  It’s well laid out and comfortable.  The bigger places seemed too big to me.

    For the three previous years, I lived in a 1,300 sq ft (120 sq m) house with two friends from college.  That house was definitely too big for the three of us, with two big living rooms, plus a kitchen/dining room.  It could easily have been comfortable at 88 sq m, which would basically have required just getting rid of the larger living room (which became a room we just filled with junk we wouldn’t have bought if there wasn’t an empty room to dump it in) and making all three bedrooms the same size as the smallest.  

    I could definitely see living in an 88 sq m house with a couple of children.

    It all depends on how the space is laid out.  You certainly can’t do a formal living room, a den, a dining room, kitchen, three bedrooms, and two baths.  I’ve seen some beautifully designed microhouses, though.  Size is not everything.  Criticizing houses based on size alone seems like whiny architects that get paid by the square meter not liking a trend that pays them less.  Maybe the houses are crap, but living area alone is no way to determine that.

  • emperorreagan

    My fiance and I live in a 1 bedroom condo that’s ~46 sq m.  It’s well laid out and comfortable.  The bigger places seemed too big to me.

    For the three previous years, I lived in a 1,300 sq ft (120 sq m) house with two friends from college.  That house was definitely too big for the three of us, with two big living rooms, plus a kitchen/dining room.  It could easily have been comfortable at 88 sq m, which would basically have required just getting rid of the larger living room (which became a room we just filled with junk we wouldn’t have bought if there wasn’t an empty room to dump it in) and making all three bedrooms the same size as the smallest.  

    I could definitely see living in an 88 sq m house with a couple of children.

    It all depends on how the space is laid out.  You certainly can’t do a formal living room, a den, a dining room, kitchen, three bedrooms, and two baths.  I’ve seen some beautifully designed microhouses, though.  Size is not everything.  Criticizing houses based on size alone seems like whiny architects that get paid by the square meter not liking a trend that pays them less.  Maybe the houses are crap, but living area alone is no way to determine that.

  • emperorreagan

    My fiance and I live in a 1 bedroom condo that’s ~46 sq m.  It’s well laid out and comfortable.  The bigger places seemed too big to me.

    For the three previous years, I lived in a 1,300 sq ft (120 sq m) house with two friends from college.  That house was definitely too big for the three of us, with two big living rooms, plus a kitchen/dining room.  It could easily have been comfortable at 88 sq m, which would basically have required just getting rid of the larger living room (which became a room we just filled with junk we wouldn’t have bought if there wasn’t an empty room to dump it in) and making all three bedrooms the same size as the smallest.  

    I could definitely see living in an 88 sq m house with a couple of children.

    It all depends on how the space is laid out.  You certainly can’t do a formal living room, a den, a dining room, kitchen, three bedrooms, and two baths.  I’ve seen some beautifully designed microhouses, though.  Size is not everything.  Criticizing houses based on size alone seems like whiny architects that get paid by the square meter not liking a trend that pays them less.  Maybe the houses are crap, but living area alone is no way to determine that.