Current guidelines require new apartments for single occupants in central London to be a minimum of 37sq.m. After seeing our work with Yotel and Vanke, we were appointed by U+I Group to design and demonstrate that smaller, well-designed ‘micro-flats’ would appeal to young professionals working in the city. The advantages are simple - they are cheaper to build, cheaper to live in, easier to maintain and allow Londoners to live closer to where they work.
The Manser Practice demonstrated that 24sq.m is large enough to accommodate everything young professionals need in a new apartment. The design doesn’t rely on gimmicks such as fold down beds or impractical mezzanine levels - instead we designed for maximum flexibility and customisation, with standard furniture and generous storage space. A full size prototype was constructed to allow planners, politicians, journalists and regular Londoners to see that the apartment is well equipped and liveable.
The Manser Practice then undertook a number of feasibility studies looking at how these units could be arranged on potential sites across London, showing how more people could be accommodated than a typical residential development. Accompanying these micro-flats could be lounges, social spaces, leisure facilities and services to allow the inhabitants to enjoy a building that is bigger than the sum of its parts.
This potential redefinition of London’s space standards may present a long term solution to the city’s housing crisis, creating a new way to give London’s mid-income workers affordable, city-centre homes in the 21st century.