'Transitional' design means something else in Hong Kong... by Winter Park Architect John Henry

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Services for Real Estate Pros with John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc.

High density and world business center cities have naturally high costs of living, especially when it comes to housing.

Hong Kong has been trying to find solutions for this and their idea of transitional is something that is not quite a 'house' but a place to have basic services BEFORE getting a 'house'.

You may have heard of very small hotel rooms there, etc. but millions live in micro-housing.  Architect James Law has suggested 120 SF units built inside drainage pipes that could be stacked.  See below.

Small bamboo units are being built in old warehouses right now and hundreds of thousands live with several people in under 150 SF units.  

Here in the U.S. some of us may have started in mobile homes which have in single wides three bedrooms and one or two baths.  And a Kitchen, Dining/Living area.  The older ones had bedrooms about 9 x 7 feet with a built-in closet.  If you are brought up in tight spaces you will adapt and learn to live that way.  The same applies to 8ft. ceilings for example.

The smallest house I have designed was a  project at Texas A&M in the College of Architecture.  It was a cube two-story design with a living/dining room and kitchen on the first floor, powder room, and two bedrooms and two baths upstairs.  I extended the design with a second cube that contained a terrace over the two car garage. 

A few years later I developed a series of starter homes from 1,200 to 1,600 SF in Austin, Texas.

The median size of newly built houses in 2015 hit an all-time high of 2,467 SF.  In the 1920s 'custom' houses were built at about 900 to 1300 SF.  Here is one with great 'character' at approx. 1200 SF.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Americans can live in smaller spaces no doubt but obviously, over the years our economy and land use has allowed larger and larger homes.  We should consider how much energy and natural resources the typical American house in the typical American suburb consumes, not just in building materials costs, but the infrastructure of roads, sidewalks, utilities, etc. plus extension of medical and fire services.  Think also about the time and energy (pollution too) consumed from driving cars and buses to and fro, etc.

Are high-density neighborhoods or cities the answer??

Micro-units above, free-standing in Hong Kong and the use of concrete pipes stacked and placed in areas where conventional units cannot be built, below.  The average flat in HK sells for 19 times the gross average income, a new record.  Flats smaller than 100 SF are rented out for as much as $300/ month.  The average rent for a 2 bedroom apartment unit in Orlando is $1,339 at 1,200 SF.  

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Beautiful European and American classical period luxury homes and plans created by premier residential Architect John Henry has been a passion now for over 30 years.  Inspired by old world archaeology and medieval to Renaissance architecture -- and having lived in Europe and the Middle East-- John Henry is widely known for the romantic and period details that make his work breathe a certain soul and drama. Striving for world-class results, his award-winning work reflects the details and proportions of luxury real estate plans in historical European and American traditional styles. Attention to detail and continuity mean that the architectural interiors should also be integrated properly.

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Ambassador
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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

John- I do think we keep building these McMansions that are a waste of space and consume a lot of energy. Our last house in Leesburg VA had 5 bedrooms 4 1/2 baths on 3 levels and was at least 6,000 sq ft and that was just for the 2 of us. 

We had a friend whose home was about 2200 Sqft but it was laid out so that it always seemed a lot larger. I'm from Texas so I need my space at least a lot more than those you show above. 

Nov 11, 2018 01:19 PM #1
Rainmaker
1,132,514
Joyce Marsh
Regal | Christie's International Real Estate - Orlando, FL
Regional Manager Regal Christie's Int'l Realty

Very interesting John.  We currently live in a home that is 4/2.5 at about 2800 SF which I feel is about the perfect size home for us.  I'm sure we could get by with a lot less, but this size feels right for our current lifestyle.  

Nov 11, 2018 02:20 PM #2
Rainmaker
150,247
John Henry
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Kathy Streib I look at this two ways.  Yes, there seems to be a waste in the equation.  On one hand, ANY house built means that lumber, concrete, plumbing, electrical, tile and all the materials used are getting purchased from manufacturers.  They are delivered in trucks or some by post, they are assembled by many tradespeople and this keeps out economy humming.  On the other hand it seems a bit of overkill to keep a few people in such large houses.  They have to be cooled and heated and that is wasteful but a utility company is being paid, maintenance people come to fix the house and it is sold at a profit benefitting realtors, title companies, the banks, etc.  And then architects get to design new stuff.  WAIT WAIT WAIT. What on EARTH am I saying here!!  The whole thing is absolutely absurd!!!  We need to go back to vegetable farming and living in huts and stop buying trinkets to keep us happy and just live ecological and natural spiritual lives... on a Mediterranean diet....

Nov 11, 2018 04:11 PM #3
Rainmaker
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John Henry
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Joyce Marsh, Daytona Beach Florida   Joyce, with all the stuff we have to lug around and keep in storage a 2,500 SF house is the minimum for a family of four or even empty nesters.  SHAME on you out there with larger houses!! Yes, this is the place to get HOUSE SHAMED!!!

Nov 11, 2018 04:12 PM #4
Rainmaker
1,386,267
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Our home is 1700 square feet, and our next will be close to 2000 square feet. Do we need all that space? No. But I'd feel claustrophic in the tiny 150 square feet homes stacked with other people. My first home was 850 square feet; that was a decent size. I'm grateful that we have the ability to have a home that is non-claustrophic in size. Ooh, I feel a gratitude post coming on.

Nov 14, 2018 05:02 AM #5
Rainmaker
1,386,267
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

I mentioned you in a post today - this one got me thinking!  I am thankful for space.

Nov 14, 2018 01:19 PM #6
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John Henry

Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design
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