X-House- Kellen Qiaolun Huang, Cornell University

Cornell student Kellen takes on the growing trend of single men in chinese society.  Due to a stigma against a lack of ownership of property, men work harder to afford property, and have less time to find a wife, a cycle that feeds itself.  Kellen’s proposal tackles both issues at the same time, providing affordable housing for singles, as well as becoming a vehicle for social interaction.  Although noble,  we feel this starts taking a turn towards dystopian future type fiction.  What are your thoughts on housing being vehicles for social interaction, whether forced or not.  Read the project in Kellen’s words after the jump.  

STUDENT: Kellen Qiaolun Huang
SCHOOL: Cornell University
YEAR: 2011

According to a new research in China, the number of young bachelors is drastically raising because of the skyrocketing housing price. Typically girls are unwilling to marry boys without a property. As a result, young graduates spend most of their time working hard but remain single until they can afford a property. In order to cater for this trend, developers start launching smaller housing units to the market. Our project aims at exploring different dimensions of how these bachelor housing units can be designed other than just being smaller.

Being single should be a temporary choice. Besides featuring a small scale, The ideal single-person housing unit should also act as a catalyst for inhabitants to enlarge their circle of friends.

According to our study, all activities in home can be divided into two categories: Private Activities (sleeping, bathing, etc.) and Sharable Activities (cooking, eating, reading, relaxing, etc.). Researching and remapping the topological relationship between these two categories are the keys to this project. An X shaped pattern is generated as result:  a Private Space is being placed in the center with four quarters of Sharable Space in the corners. The pattern may seem meaningless to individuals until all units are aggregated to form a large interconnecting social network pattern. This network becomes the prototype of X-House.

Several studies have been carried out to investigate the evolution from an X-pattern to the spatial prototype. The mature X-spatial prototype is a model with bedroom and bathroom space in the center and four quarters Sharable Space in those four corners. A typical Sharable Space includes living room, reading/study room, dining room and a multifunctional room. These Sharable Spaces can only be formed when several X-Spatial prototypes are connected together. This spatial feature embodies the spirit of X-House: Open and share your life, you will get more fun and friends.

Another issue addressed by this X-spatial prototype is the concept of connectivity. There are three degrees of connectivity within this model. The largest degree is allowed by a staircase at the back of the design which provides direct and physical connection. The intermediate degree allows visual connection among people in different spaces at the front of the model. The smallest degree lies in the middle of the X-spatial prototype. It provides people with privacy.

Living inside the X-House is like having a funny experiment. Each of the inhabitants shares his life with other four people, each of these four people also lives with another four inhabitants. In other words, each inhabitant can naturally get to know all the people in the building and keep sharing their lives with others until they finally find someone they love and move out from the X-House. Living in X-House will become a part of life’s journey. It’s transient yet amazing.

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