Canberra, Australia, 10 February 2016. Canberra street early morning, in the trendy Kingston Foreshore suburb. Land was reclaimed from the lake Burley Griffin to create a small island. The canal joins the lake to the new harbour.
Canberra, Australia, 10 February 2016. Canberra street early morning, in the trendy Kingston Foreshore suburb. Land was reclaimed from the lake Burley Griffin to create a small island. The canal joins the lake to the new harbour.

The room we no longer need

ONE of the world's leading architects says Millennials don't need living rooms - and that apartments should get smaller.

Patrik Schumacher, the head of prominent firm Zaha Hadid Architects, made the controversial claims in a recent paper published by the Adam Smith Institute.

He argued "hotel room-sized" pads - with no designated living room - were perfect for professional young people, and that minimum dwelling sizes should be slashed to make housing more affordable.

He said busy Gen Ys, who spent much of their time "attending early morning meetings, after work networking events, weekend conferences, and professional lectures", didn't need the extra space a living room provided.

"Those who are now making the hard choice between paying 80 per cent of their income on a central flat versus commuting from afar will, in the liberalised future, appreciate new options and perhaps choose to pay only 60 per cent for a smaller but more central flat," Mr Schumacher wrote.

"For many young professionals who are out and about networking 24/7, a small, clean, private hotel room-sized central patch serves their needs perfectly well."

The architect, who is based in London, said he disagreed with UK requirements which state one bedroom flats must be at least 37 square metres, arguing the cost of larger apartments was barring Millennials from entering the property market.

In comparison, in NSW one bedroom units can be no smaller than 50sq m while studio apartments can go down to a snug 35sq m.

Patrik Schumacher, head of Zaha Hadid Architects, says Gen Y doesn't need living rooms. Picture: Facebook
Patrik Schumacher, head of Zaha Hadid Architects, says Gen Y doesn't need living rooms. Picture: Facebook

"Units half that size, built at an earlier time, are rare and thus at the moment overpriced, hotly desired commodities, for rent or for sale," he wrote.

"Lifting this prohibition would allow a whole new (lower) income group, which is now excluded, to enter the market. This move would both boost overall unit numbers and affordability."

Mr Schumacher noted that his views would likely be controversial, stating debates around smaller properties "becomes quickly emotional and rhetorical with phrases like 'rabbit hutches' and 'slums' standing in for arguments".

Unsurprisingly, his radical proposal was slammed by Twitter users.

One wrote: "I give it five years before they've whittled us down to living in coffins. And paying £800 a month for the privilege" while another added: "We could just live in capsules? Or under the ground? In a manhole, for instance? What about those nice hypersleep pods in Alien?"

Mr Schumacher is no stranger to controversy having previously suggested removing social housing and privatising streets.


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