The Microflat
January 31, 2002 8:52 AM   Subscribe

The Microflat is a new housing design concept in London. It's a small living space intended for young urban types; as a gimmicky promotion, two people will live in Microflats within a department store. Flash required.
posted by acornface (22 comments total)
This looks like Federation Starship crew quarters to me. Except so small that Riker would have no place to put his Trombone, nor Worf his sword collection, nor Data his easel, nor Troi her hot tub, nor ensign Davenport his Rigellian pleasure table.
posted by scarabic at 9:07 AM on January 31, 2002

Hell -- it's much bigger than a lot of NYC apts. Square footage is over 800 sq ft unless I'm reading it incorrectly.
posted by hummus at 9:18 AM on January 31, 2002

Yeah, a bedroom that fits a king size bed? It looks pretty nice to me.
posted by mdn at 9:23 AM on January 31, 2002

hummus, I read it as 30m2, or "thirty square meters", which works out to about 290 square feet.

Someone want to check the math on that?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:34 AM on January 31, 2002

The flats are just 344 sq ft - pretty small. Link to a recent New York Times article (registration required) and a piece from the Guardian from last August. The architects, Piercy Connor, have done remarkably well to get all this publicity from their idea.
posted by jonathanbell at 9:48 AM on January 31, 2002

Hold on, hummus — if that's a king-size bed then the flat is about 10' wide, and then it's about 30' long = about 300 ft2. Small even for NYC! My last apartment was about 350 ft2 and was defintely too small for a normal-sized man & a giant cat.

mdn (hi!): the bedroom is a king-size bed + a little room at the foot = maybe 7' x 10'.

But I have to agree, with windows at both ends and a skylight in the living room/kitchen — and a deck! — this might be a pretty pleasant place to live.
posted by nicwolff at 9:49 AM on January 31, 2002

Hey dudes look ! A closet with a small window, how cute !
Imagine the fun when your friends, waiting for you outside, will say "Hey you finally come out of the closet ! "
posted by elpapacito at 10:11 AM on January 31, 2002

Maybe I'm out of touch, but is 80,000 pounds really that cheap?

Where I'm sitting an apartment that size would go for 10,000 tops. Our house is about 1,700 sq. ft. on a 1/2 acre lot and would go for under 90,000 pounds. In the city around here you'd pay about 70-100k pounds for an average house -- probably about 1,200 sq. ft. of living space, and a little under a 1/4 acre lot.

All I can say is I feel pretty lucky right now that I'm not in a position where that apartment looks like a good deal.

Note all these prices are converted (in my head) from $CDN to pounds GB (don't know how to make the pound symbol on this keyboard and I don't use it enough to care, TYVM :)
posted by shepd at 10:15 AM on January 31, 2002

This is like living on a boat. But with a kingsize bed.

Two things give me pause:

1. The kitchen is in the bathroom. Or the bathroom is in the kitchen. Either way, it's an issue even NYC apartments don't have to face.

2. There's almost nowhere to put a TV. Or a trombone. Or an easel. If you don't like reading metropolis magazine or playing gameboy color, this might not be enough apartment for you.

I used to live in a 300 square foot apartment in Boston. It's a tight squeeze -- the easel stored under the bed. Laptops were the only way to go (especially because I lived with a ladyfriend and we both had to compute. On the couch.). Sacrifices had to be made so that we could live in the middle of the city though, which is just what microflats wants -- people to live in cities. What a far out idea that is.
posted by zpousman at 10:26 AM on January 31, 2002

Is anyone else thinking of the old pre-Phil Collins Genesis song, "Get 'em out by Friday"? Yes, I actually like old Genesis, don't hold it against me.

"I hear the directors of Genetic Control have been buying all the properties that have recently been sold, taking risks oh so bold. It's said now that people will be shorter in height,
they can fit twice as many in the same building site. (they say it's alright), Beginning with the tenants of the town of Harlow, in the interest of humanity, they've been told they must go, told they must go-go-go-go."
posted by machaus at 10:32 AM on January 31, 2002

£80K will never be cheap, but then London isn't. Type in Selfridges' postcode (W1) into Hometrack, and you'll see that even though prices are falling, the average price for an apartment in central London is still £368,000. Eek. (Selfridges is the department store exhibiting the Microflat.)
posted by jonathanbell at 10:47 AM on January 31, 2002

...and on a Federation Starship you are probably not forced to listen to your co-young-professional evacuate their bowel while you rustle up a nice plate of gnocchi in the kitchenette.

Now, let me see, where is that extractor fan switch.....more tea, vicar?
posted by RichLyon at 11:34 AM on January 31, 2002

Yeah, ok, it's small, but the name suggests it's like one of those japanese hotel "rooms" or something, and really it's just a normal small apartment. I know plenty of people who sleep in loft beds, and I can think of at least two people who share larger apartments but have bedrooms that literally could not fit a king size bed (one has acquiesced to his girlfriend's desires, and put a queen size bed in, so that absolutely nothing else fits in the room; the other could not even fit a lay-z-boy into his room (he has a loft with computer underneath & that's it). Yes, it's sad/ crazy, that people are forced/ willing to live like this to be in the middle of a great city etc, but it's old news 'round these parts.

My grannie lives a couple blocks from Selfridges (she's been there since the '60's). I wonder if she's seen this display.
posted by mdn at 11:40 AM on January 31, 2002

Hrm. I've just rented a house, having finally come to the conlusion that there was just no way to live comfortably in my 2-bedroom urban apartment with a spouse and 2 kids. I'd be the first in line to move into a building that gave me the ammenities available in even the most modest 3-bedroom suburban home, but everybody seems to be building *&^%$#!! studios. Am I completely alone in thinking that you shouldn't have to move to the suburbs in order to grow up and get a life?
posted by hob at 11:53 AM on January 31, 2002

Young urban types are less prone to claustrophobia then?
posted by kerplunk at 1:18 PM on January 31, 2002

If they aim it at people who would be moving out of a dorm room and into a microflat, they could find an audience. That, or market them to runaway teenage prostitutes...
posted by spilon at 3:08 PM on January 31, 2002

I live in a 250 sq. ft apartment. I have 1 window, and 3 doors. My apartment is similar to this arrangement, with the bathroom/kitchen sharing a plumbing wall. Sometimes I'm annoyed at the kitchen smell [I like garlic] but if this flat has a powerful exhaust, no problem. I lofted my single bed and now I have a great "Computer Room" and a "TV Room." you can live in 250-300 sq. ft. you just have to go vertical and use all of your space.

This design is really quite elegant. I have to agree that the "living room" isn't all that big, but if you can rig a folding table you can use the are where the present table is for your "easel" space zpousman. To make more space, you could have that double bed that folds up into a wall. That way the bed room could also become daily use space.

For what it's worth, those of us here at the office are drooling [architects kinda do that from time to time].
posted by plemeljr at 3:13 PM on January 31, 2002

ugh, depressing. It would be like living in a human filing cabinet. Gimme a good old-fashioned rowhouse or three-decker any day.
posted by jonmc at 3:27 PM on January 31, 2002

If they aim it at people who would be moving out of a dorm room and into a microflat, they could find an audience.

bingo. as a college student all I can think is: 'that's the biggest, nicest, coolest single ever' sign me up for one when I graduate. right now i live in a room that is about 130-150 sq. ft. along with a roommate, not to mention that we have both beds lofted, and we have a desk, a small fridge, a full sized couch, and a 20 inch tv crammed in here. I would kill to live in one of these microflats.
posted by rorycberger at 4:51 PM on January 31, 2002

(Phil Collins plays on "Get 'em out by Friday.")
posted by rodii at 7:07 PM on January 31, 2002

(but he wasn't singing is what I meant)
posted by machaus at 7:44 PM on January 31, 2002

As for NYers not dealing with bathrooms in their kitchens, I know a number of people with showers/tubs in their kitchens, due to the installation of plumbing post-construction. It's quite a treat to take a bath and have your roommates and friends chatting at the kitchen table. At the least, it makes you get over your shyness.
posted by ltracey at 11:17 AM on February 1, 2002

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