If Jakub Szczęsny’s impossibly svelte Keret House
in Warsaw (the Polish Modern Art Foundation is now accepting resident applications
, by the way) came across as entirely too spacious, suck in your tummy, pop a Xanax, and get a load of Live Between Buildings, an intriguing housing proposal that makes use of the narrow crevices and alleyways found between existing buildings.
The first place winner of New Vision of the Loft 2
, an international design competition organized by Poland-based global skylight/roof window manufacturer FAKRO (the same firm that commissioned this crazy railway viaduct arch-repurposing housing scheme
in London) in cooperation with A10 New European Architecture, Live Between Buildings is the somewhat claustrophobia-inducing creation of a Danish architectural team consisting of German Ole Robin Storjohann and Poland-born Mateusz Mastalksi.
As part of the competition, entrants were challenged to “design a functional space full of natural light, using highly energy-efficient technology in order to create unconventional loft concepts, where light and space play major roles.” The competition requirements were rather open-ended with the only stipulations being to “develop the most original and timeless concept” while incorporating at least 10 FAKRO roof window products into the design.
Billing itself as being “pure Fakro,” Live Between Buildings
(PDF) certainly addressed the “unconventional” requirement and then some with an urban infill-focused proposal geared to “enable a life hyper-close to nature and city life, while at the same time exploiting the qualities of the already existing blind walls of the city.” I should also point out that while the width-challenged pocket-dwellings come in all shapes and sizes, they appear to be entirely
built from windows. Pure Fakro, indeed.
As Fakro is strengthening their global presence, the Live Between Buildings way of living is also going global. We have pinpointed some possible building sites in cities around the world. Using the different roof windows available from Fakro, a wide variety of housing typologies are possible, thereby reacting to the context and culture of the specific urban setting.
With minimal footprint and facade surface, but a maximum of living quality, the Live Between Buildings project contributes to a denser, more sustainable city of the future
The competition jury notes the strengths of Sorjohann and Mastalski’s proposal:
The Jury appreciated the way the basic idea — creating small infill-dwellings inbetween existing buildings — has been worked out in extended research, thus providing models for various housing types in different cities. The plan can be realized entirely out of roof windows (with some technical adjustments) and offers an innovative idea for using empty spaces in urban fabric. The possibility of shapes is endless. The project was very beautifully drawn and communicated on a single sheet, the section describing both the architectural idea and the exciting occupation of the proposed building.
Good stuff (bonus points for hammocks and climbing walls in the bedroom) but I suppose you’d have to really like your neighbors if you were squeezed into a skylight-strewn loft in between them. Also: drapery.
As the first place winner in the competition, Living Between Buildings picked up a 5,000 euro prize. Polish teams scored both second and third places.
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