Design your own floor plan in Sputnik’s Housing Laboratory

Rotterdam-based architecture agency Sputnik has developed Housing Laboratory; a huge temporary installation consisting of white modular walls that can be moved around in order to live experiment with new floor plans. This installation summarises one of the festival’s main themes – diversification. How can we create affordable houses that fits the specific needs of a broad variety of lifestyles?

The flexible installation – which is presented during the festival’s opening event –  functions as life-size model in which future tenants can play around with walls and furniture. This helps them to create a perfect tailor-fit floor plan within the limitations of budget and Dutch laws. The outcomes are compared with beamed projections of frequently used traditional and modern floor plans. This way the project provides answers to the ever increasing variety in lifestyles and housing demands in modern cities.

“Traditionally social houses were designed for families”, explains Bert Karel Deuten (Sputnik). “But now 80% to 90% of the people living in them are singles or couples. They have different demands and don’t need as much space.” Therefore this workshop is also an excercise in designing smaller floor plans. What do we actually need? And what do we still consider ‘good housing?

But Deuten likes to stress that Sputnik doesn’t advocate smaller living. “We want to explore the options of making cheaper houses that still fits the needs of a new generation social dwellers.” For that reason Sputnik also uses IKEA furniture to move around in their 1:1 model. “IKEA furniture is standard in Dutch houses and affordable for anyone.”

All the results and self-made floor plans together show some remarkable insights. 40% of the families for instance don’t need an extra room in their house, while housing professionals predominantly expect them to need one. And 50% of the families prefer a separated kitchen above an open kitchen, while housing corporation build predominantly open kitchens these days.

All these results of the survey that Sputnik conducts while live-testing the floor plans together with tenants are collected in the book ‘Goed wonen in een betaalbare woning’. This book shows the diversity of lifestyles in modern cities and new floor plans solutions that come with them.

Feature image by © Elodie Burrillon |

This article is part of a special series in which Pop-Up City reflects on the first edition of the International Social Housing Festival taking place in Amsterdam between 13 June and 21 June 2017 in Amsterdam.

Author: Pepijn Bakker

Pepijn Bakker is a Dutch architect who has worked on housing projects in China, India, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Pepijn was initiator and director of the first International Social Housing Festival, a 9 day festival consisting of 45 events and exhibitions, attended by 1300 people, all on the future of social housing. As the world population is growing rapidly, in particular in cities, Pepijn believes that organizing housing systems should be encouraged at all levels. Plese visit Pepijns company website for more information.

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