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Student Village TU Munich

location: Munich, Germany

year: 2005-2006

client: Studentenwerk, Munchen

design: Horden Cherry Lee Architects with Haack Hoepfner

A village of seven micro-compact homes (m-ch), sponsored by international telecommunications company O2 Germany, was launched at the Technical University Munich in November 2005. The m-ch is a new, lightweight, transportable dwelling that combines high-technology and low-energy use, like the Smart car.

Specially selected students are living in six of the 2.65m cubes for the winter and spring semesters 2005–6 alongside their British professor and HCLA director, Richard Horden, who masterminded the design of the micro-compact home.

The micro-compact home student village has been commissioned by Studentenwerk (Student Housing Authority) for Technical University Munich and features home technology, including a plasma screen and kitchen appliances, provided by co-sponsors Fujitsu Siemens Computers GmbH, Siemens Electrogeräte GmbH and Vaku Isotherm Insulation.

The concept has been initiated and developed from 2001 by Richard Horden in his role as Professor for Architecture and Product Design at The Technical University in Munich and as visiting Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. ?In addition to the 'authors' role some 150 students were developing alternative designs at one stage, The following students and five teaching assistants were involved in the 1:1 'proof of concept' prototype design development and cost reports: Vanessa Blacker-Sturm, Burkhard Franke [ta], Veronika Gruber, Lydia Haack [ta], Claus Hainzlmeier,Walter Klatz [ta], Stephan Koch, Bianca Matern, Hendrik Muller [ta], Daniel Oswald, Miroslav Penev, Wiebke Seidler, Taisi Tuhkanen and Tim Wessbecher [ta].

m-ch demonstrates how state of the art technology can be integrated into a lightweight transportable dwelling to produce an efficient, compact and desirable living space, bringing architecture of the home into line with advances in other manufacturing industries. The layout is influenced by traditional Japanese tea house architecture. Internally the space is divided into zones. A compact zone of wet services houses the toilet, shower and the kitchen. On the central axis is the entrance and kitchen circulation area, which also serves as access to seating in the lower dining area.

The upper level sleeping bunk (for two) can be folded out of the way, while below, the sunken dining area can also double as a second sleeping space (also for two). Lightweight technology is used throughout, including insulated vacuum aluminium panelling mounted on a timber and galvanised steel section providing the basic structure. Several units can be mounted on an external steel frame in vertical and horizontal formations, around central lift and stair cores to form a ‘village’.

m-ch is ideal for business travellers, holiday homes, or other short-term residential or academic uses. It requires no furniture and comes with all integrated energy and communications systems. Raised off the ground, it has a minimal impact on its environment. If the village is judged a success after a year of testing, m-ch is to be marketed in Europe with a guide price of around Euro 50,000.

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