Exploring the concept of privacy in an urban landscape is always an interesting thought experiment, especially when you couple that with the intention of also interacting with the outside world. All too often we, as city dwellers, are either completely boxed in or too exposed. A new design collaboration at Brooklyn’s A/D/O highlights the creative result of such an experiment, and addresses yet another real-world issue: forced global migration.
On display until November 2017, MINI LIVING collaborated with Bureau V (a New York-based architecture firm) to design a micro-house that explores the future of urban living and the ways in which design can provoke debate.
The collective design at the burgeoning new creative space in Greenpoint Brooklyn, A/D/O, aims to address both the “modern challenges of urban living in the form of a micro-living, sharing-housing concept,” while also raising the question: What is home? Or rather, what makes a home a home anyway?
In the culturally diverse city of New York, this question of “home” is loaded with political, social, and economic weight; perhaps more so than most metropolitan areas around the United States. According to an article published by the Huffington Post in 2013, “over 37 percent of New York City residents were born in another country… the highest percentage in over 100 years. A record high 3.07 million foreign-born immigrants live in New York City, more than any other city in the world.”
With this in mind, the micro-cabin acts as a temporary space for refuge – a space for shared knowledge (books), a place to express oneself (yellow protruding sculpture), comfort (insulated entryway), and introspection (hammock in the green room). Basic human need is sated through the simplest of designs, while still feeling distinctly “Brooklyn.”
This new micro-cabin design is an experiment in the use of creative space as a place of respite, where “comfort and humor” can thrive, while also enabling moments of “privacy and interactions with the outside world,” says the release. The design does manage to offer a whimsical reprieve from the ubiquity of concrete and glass skyscrapers, but with all this clever design, one has to ask: Where would something like this actually go?
Are we to set up a new cabin village-community in Greenpoint? Take over the closed up warehouses in Bushwick with new micro-cabins? Is this even possible, let alone liveable?
While these are lingering questions for the philosophers and city planners out there, the design itself is both intriguing, eye-catching, and does its job at provoking debate. It has a fort-like feel, with its Scandinavian minimalism minus the pretense, and almost resembles a colorful stripped down hippie wagon…err cabin.
Still, the heart of the design lies in its intentions (Kant’s categorical imperative be dammed), which attempt to challenge the state of urban housing, migration, liveability, and the diversity of our city. A complex set of social questions and issues that one design alone can’t possibly tackle, especially a temporary space at that, but the fact that New York designers are creatively (and constructively) thinking in these terms means that we’re headed in the right direction.
The urban cabin project will continue in other cities across the U.S., with different architects for each new design, and highlight each town’s unique cultural experience and space needs. MINI LIVING Urban Cabin is on display at A/D/O in Greenpoint, Brooklyn until November 22, 2017.
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