The definition of minimum housing is a complex problem with no easy solution. It is clear that the concept is broad and can lead to different interpretations.

Determining the minimum living space has been a recurring issue in recent years in relation to the necessary transformation of social housing. The spatial requirements of what is called protected social housing have followed the usual pattern of the 60s and 70s in the world, but now it does not respond at all to an entirely different sociological reality. Families are smaller in number of components in response to demographic statistics and also families are less structured, according to all statistics worldwide.

The reflexion on the need to promote decent growth for cities, creating neighbourhoods and areas that could be incorporated into the town centre, moved to Swiss-born French architect Le Corbusier to design a minimum standard of households where rationalism and functionality lead. The house should be considered as a useful object. Therefore he proposed some parameters that have been a revolution in modern cities:

  • The pillars. The development of construction based on reinforced concrete makes that the retaining walls lose their function and are replaced by concrete pillars and metal studs.
  • The roof-terrace. The advantage of using the roof and the terrace as a fifth façade.
  • The open floor. As load bearing walls are not necessary, it is possible to arrange the partition walls as required by the interior layout. It is also proposed that the kitchen and the dining room form one piece only.
  • The windows are long, and even, if possible, cover the entire wall.
  • The free facade. The facade is an area that is organized in open parts and blind parts playing together in the composition to create a picture.

A final proposal, perhaps more futuristic and therefore it can be an interesting advance, is what has been called terminal architecture. It is an idea that the British journalist Martin Pawley proposed in 1998, in his last and posthumous book of the same title, Terminal Architecture.

Vivienda mínima

Pawley argued that recent architecture suffers from a major misconception. Design efforts massively are oriented towards formal definition right at a time when that strategy has lost its meaning and is therefore not within the social interests and the economy in general.

However the appearance of buildings is an issue that is becoming less relevant in an era of mass distribution of digital information. The monumental conception of architecture only makes sense at the moment as it provides branding to big business or it is inserted into the tourism industry of the cities competing.

The great mass of contemporary architecture will not have a cultural significance, as its fundamental role will be functional above all, for being a trailing space linking with the energy and telecommunications networks.

Obox bets on a differentiated and custom architecture from basic premises such as functional and modular construction while adding the concept of housing industrialization in the construction phase as a way to achieve lower costs, faster execution of the work and ultimately a more sustainable than traditional forms approach.