Compact Living and Small Spaces

Updated on January 4, 2022 in Debates, Ideas and Discussion

compact living time magazine architecture architect social housing

Australia, a country where land is abundant as opposed to Singapore (reminds me of my Singaporean lecturer, I dislike him – a fresh graduate with zero working experience, he said it is all right to insert raster images of human, furniture, cars and plants in the working drawing set – little did he knows that he is what we describe as “the empty vessel makes the loudest sound.”), anyway not all Singaporean acts in such manner, right Arron Kong?. Where was I? Yeah, compact living… compact living is simply not a doable thesis topic in the land of kangaroos, not to mention the Australian way of living doesn’t accommodate the whole idea of living in a house without a backyard.

A friend of mine once told me after years of observation, she finally realized the reason Koala bear is one of the ‘mascot’ together with kangaroos. ;-)

Anyway, compact living sounds like a challenging thesis topic if the site is in one of the many cities in Malaysia, and definitely a big yes in sardine like Singapore. After all, lands is pretty expensive in Asian countries; we don’t have the luxury of colonizing other people’s country and wipe off (Genocide) their race from planet earth like what the Europeans did 400 years ago, and then go on wearing a T-shirt that screams ‘Free Tibet’ – Hypocrites, agree?

Back to compact living, a friend of mine is looking into the wonderful world of compact living for his thesis, and coincidentally I stumbled upon this information on ‘compact living’ and ‘small spaces’ in “Neufert Architect’s Data 3rd Edition”.

Compact Living and Small Spaces
Image Source and Copyright: Neufert, page 405

I have to admit that Neufert is an excellent architecture handbook, unlike the “Metric Handbook: Planning and Design Data” purchased by me 3 years ago is now gathering dust, and soon it will be the source of food for booklice and silverfish, and eventually it will be one of the many coloring books for my ungrateful adopted grandchildren. Apart from the countless errors in the book (no reference book as comprehensive as this will ever be perfect), the Metric Handbook lacks illustrations as opposed to the Neufert Architect’s Data.

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Image Source and Copyright: Neufert, page 586

Image Source and Copyright: Neufert, page 586

The image above reminds me of the so called ‘compact living’ of Asians many generations ago, burial ground would likely be the thing of the past in the coming future, we need the bad guy from Superman – Lex Luthor, at least he is doing a noble job of solving the concern surrounding the lack of land in our beloved planet earth, and I quote from Lex Luthor:

“Son, stocks may rise and fall, utilities and transportation systems may collapse. People are no damn good, but they will always need land, and they’ll pay through the nose to get it!”

Mr. Alexander Joseph “Lex” Luthor | Image Source: DC Database

Forget about Barack Osama Obama (I believe he is going to win the democrat presidential race), Hillary ‘ hilarious’ Clinton and John ‘old’ McCain, come on everybody, Lex Luthor for president!

The author is not a CAD expert nor a web genius. Just another guy spending too much time online. The tutorials featured here are meant for basic level understanding.


  1. I am particularly interested in how to design a compact yet “humane” living cell/unit. ^^

    “he said it is alright to show human, furniture, cars and plants in the working drawing set…”

    I dun think that’s a definite no-no. I’d say this depends on what u are designing really, or if part of the furniture/plants is to be constructed/provided by the contractor to the client.

    For e.g., it may not be practical to put the above items in a working drawing set of say a residential house but it may be necessary to include plants/furniture or even planter boxes in a working drawing set of a retail complex and/or food & beverage outlet as sometimes the client and/or builder may need these detail information.

    The purpose of the working drawing set may also determine whether to include these items (e.g. is the set for design development, tender, construction, endorsement, etc).

    That’s my dua sen. ^^

  2. If it is a built in furniture like an island in the kitchen or a basin in a toilet then it should be included in the working drawing, but my lecturer talked about dinning tables, cars, plants… maybe he meant something different and i heard him wrongly, maybe.

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