Authors: Maja Gjakun
Living in compact spaces represents a challenge for occupants as well as for professionals looking for the most effective method to provide as much comfortable living conditions as possible, in order to solve the current problem of overcrowded urban environments at a global level.
It is reckoned that over the last 40 years the implementation of “flexibility” as an essential tool for spatial experimentation has brought revolutionary ideas which have dramatically improved spatial efficiency in residential interior architecture. Unlike most of the traditional concepts, which have been neglecting the need for future changes, flexibility in the dwelling field has opened a wide range of possibilities as to how to face the volatility of contemporary lifestyle and to create a sort of life-time dwelling, in which any changes could be predicted in advance. If previously determined and fixed, functional units inside interior spaces may become variable, movable and expandable.
From a technical perspective, this transformation has led to a significant benefit: it has prevented the “obsolescence” of space. Consequently, from a sociological perspective, such improvement has inevitably brought to the development of some behavioral patterns and to new comfort conditions in the daily routines which significantly deviate from the previous (“non-flexible”) ways of living.
Considering the development of various flexible methods which in turn generated specific behavioral requirements in living and considering the time range between the early 1970s and the present day, the final objective of this paper is to identify the current trends which will mark the living conditions of people in upcoming times. More specifically, the paper’s aim is to identify the future developments of flexible methods and comfort conditions in spatially limited dwellings, so as to detect adequate target markets for such type of living options.
Additionally, this paper can be considered a basis for further discussions as to whether the current development of flexible dwellings can be an appropriate “way of living in the future” even for a wider target, as the recent literature on the topic has predicted.
Keywords: flexibility / comfort / limited spaces / compact interiors / future directions