Extra-small housing encompasses any dwelling that is small enough to be labelled as a tiny house or a micro dwelling, usually between 10 to 40 m2, roughly the size of one or two rooms. XS housing archetypes can be set up as single family or multifamily dwellings when aggregated as kernels in patterns highlighted by Japanese Metabolist architecture. Geared for mobility, they abrogate permanent anchoring associated with conventional housing construction. Micro-dwellings can be both self-propelled and hitched. Today’s comprehensively commodified culture associated with intelligent connected objects has renewed interest for integrated capsule dwellings ready for purchase and delivery.
Notwithstanding current interest in tiny homes, Capsules are a product of modernist design principles. The machine for living evolved into the optimistic and space age architectural imagery diffused post-World War 2. Not exclusive to Japan's design culture, capsules were however propagandized during the Expo70 international World Fair presented in Osaka, Japan under the planning authority of Metabolist architect Kenzō Tange. The exhibit theme «Progress and Harmony of Mankind» underlined the high-tech culture fostered through Japan's major support of automation and manufacturing methodologies applied to housing production. Japan’s prefab housing industry progressed and exalted prefab capsules as a serialized product incorporating technological advancements.
Case in Point, Sanyo, an electronics producer showcased their living pod during Expo70. The micro-unit suggested a future of technological integration in every part of our homes with electronic baths, television sets and mobile communications. The Sanyo Living Capsule, a spherical individually sized biosphere, also labelled as the Health Capsule, synthesized every living function in one extra-small ergonomic form. Perfected living conditions, light, atmosphere, heat, and ventilation were automatically controlled and would remain at monitored levels. Mass-manufacturable, they could be adapted for any collective support structure.
The recent demolition of the Nagakin Capsule Tower stipulated a pragmatic end to the capsule culture associated with 1970s Japan. Still, the XS housing pod continues to be linked to prefabrication. Its diminutive size agues for and makes it feasible to control and finish work in a factory setting leaving minimal disturbance and simplified infrastructure connections to the job site.
|Sanyo Living Pod placed within a housing typological matrix