ESP

“Entrepreneurial Space Production”

Research project, World
Program: Housing
Client: Self initiated

Entrepreunerial Space Production is a research and practice-based project on the topic of small urban housing.
Small living is not a choice

The topic of small housing emerged out the observation that an increasing amount of people live in cities, leading to an increase in real estate prices and more difficulties in finding housing. The topic of small living is becoming an increasingly unavoidable reality.
There is a general idea that small housing is a good and ethical way of living: You own less things, consume less etc. This is not the way of thinking of l’atelier. We think that small housing is more of a result than a goal. Our project is therefore not to promote small housing, but to tackle the fact that most people do not have the choice. If you want to be near economical hubs, you need to live in the urban environment.

Against the financiarisation of the housing market and for an access to ownership

We have observed in recent years a financiarisation of the real estate market, meaning that real estate is seen as any other type of investment and thus diluted into the global market. The danger of this is that quality housing is jeopardized by financial goals and housing projects become disconnected from reality.
One of the ways to fight against this is to promote a context where people can reach ownership, within a reasonable loan frame. The problem encountered in a context where housing prices are too high is that the margin to buy becomes smaller and smaller, making people unenthusiastic of buying. The goal of l’atelier is to provide tools for future owners to design their small home in the nicest way possible.

“The importance of housing to redefine the contemporary metropolis”

Djamel Klouche, a French urbanist, once said that the construction of the city is about transport and housing. As architects, we have a duty to take part in the urban transformation of cities and to bring as much living qualities as possible into our projects. Housing is the main element of a city and needs to be understood in larger context. Good living conditions can drastically change urban living qualites.
Considering the strong link between the very large and the very small scale, our intellectual process is to apply theories from city planning to small housing. We consider the design of a house like a mini masterplan and as the extension of public space. Our projects are therefore closer to strategies and typologies than to design proposals.

Over the last two years, l’atelier has designed more than 30 small apartments and houses à in major European cities. These designs are based on an ongoing toolbox of strategies. Entrepreneurial space production goes back and forth between theory and practice. The main goal is to have enough content to develop a book on how to design small homes