Space organization for Small Houses

Welcome back to the fourth appointment in our section dedicated to Small Houses. A column that starts from the desire to make this new concept of home and urban living better known. Two fundamental questions from which this column get started: does it still make sense to build big houses? Or rather, is there still space or time for large areas?

Today the best solution is the Small House: a few, very few square meters that can hide a maximum functionality. But how can you optimize the use of space? How to best design the little space to get your dream home? Through 10 examples of micro-houses, we want you to experience the hidden potential behind these little jewels.

Space organization for Small Houses

Today we want to talk about space organization. Behind every best project there is certainly a careful reflection on the use of space and, therefore, on its best configuration. Different philosophies and orientations.  So let’s discover two models together: the Micro-Wave and the Micro-Cube.

6.The Micro-Wave

“This small apartment, residual product of the fragmentation of a property built in the 1950s in the neighbourhood of Chacarita, forms an ‘ochava’ on the first floor with visuals open to the outside as exposed to the curious look from the street”-said IR Arquitectura.

Space organization_the micro wave plan

The Argentine architectural firm IR Arquitectura engages in a challenge that is certainly exciting and at the same time cumbersome. Which? That of turning a residual surface of a disused building in Buenos Aires into a home. And where would the challenge be? In the fact that this area is only 18 square meters. And what’s more, the shape is certainly not easily reconfigurable: a triangle.

This triangular portion, which remained unused after the building had been divided, was redesigned by IR Arquitectura with the clear objective of working on the space organization. It therefore becomes essential in this case to think of the volume in the smallest detail.

As a result there are six areas: an entrance, a living room that is also a dining room and that extends into a large and bright terrace. Then there is a kitchen, a bathroom and a very particular bedroom, which becomes a real niche in which to take refuge.


Space organization. The basic idea, the concept from which the project moves is to operate on spatiality, exploiting every square centimeter. The basic idea is to smooth the corners, until the triangular and angular shape becomes something else. An other volume with soft shapes and curved lines. A new configuration that allows optimal space organization.

  • Space organization_the micro wave interior1
  • Space organization_the micro wave interior2
  • Space organization_the micro wave interior3

“The incorporation of spaced enclosures offers a new device, a diaphragm able to expand the use of the apartment in summer and to contract it in winter”-said IR Arquitectura.

In this case, the optimal solution is to work on additions. The project, therefore, adds a terrace that is able to expand the spaces. To the original surface are thus added 7 precious square meters. The house now has a total area of ​​25 square meters.

To make the most of the small and irregular space inside, IR Arquitectura designed built-in furniture for the other two walls, which serves the living room in between.

Space organization_the micro wave detail

The use of materials becomes the vital fulcrum of this project. Solid materials accompanied by light, transparent, almost ephemeral materials. A game of transparencies that not only creates contrasts of full and empty, but is the key space organization.

Materials that shape the space, which filter the light, making the environment appear wider. So light enters, penetrating the materials, through the terrace. But at the same time, privacy is total. The basic concept, in fact, is: I can fully enjoy the light and the view, but without being seen.

7.The Micro-Cube


The Australian architect Nicholas Gurney thinks and designs in detail a surface area of 24 square meters in the heart of Sydney. The new home obtained is the result of the reconfiguration of a pre-existing space, implemented by the architect.

Space organization_the micro cube plan

The project basically focuses on the use of bespoke joinery, sliding partitions and moveable furniture to make the most of this limited space. The dictation is to take care of details in order to be able to get the best from this volume. The critical points, therefore, become strengths of the project.

As a result, this small house has 4 main areas: living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. Light, transparent and mobile partitions help to give a harmonious idea of space, which doesn’t result fragmented.


“The 5S apartment promotes living with less. It was intended the design deliberately place importance on selecting, organising and caring for one’s belongings”-said Gurney.

  • Space organization_the micro cube interior1
  • Space organization_the micro cube interior2

Also in this case space organization becomes the solution to the whole. The keystone for the Australian architect lies in the Japanese technique of using and organizing spaces. This technique is called “5S technique”, that are sort, straighten, shine, standardise and sustain. The five principles therefore aim to encourage a disciplined and efficient use of space.

The apartment is designed for a young couple, recently married. Here the space becomes a reflection of the customer’s needs. It is precisely for this reason that the two tenants, who will occupy the house, are asked to compile a list of all that their house must contain. It will thus be much easier to design efficient and responsive spaces.


“The design elevates a seemingly one dimensional space and in doing so, confidently dispels conventional notions surrounding small space living and provides considerable quality of life for the inhabitants”-said Gurney.

Surely in this project it is minimalism that has the best wing. A minimalism in the forms, in the use of materials and colors, the same minimalism that animates the space organization. It is about eliminating all that is superfluous to achieve maximum efficiency. The will is to design spaces that alter our perspective, our idea of large-small.

Space organization_the micro cube detail

What do you think of these two micro-apartment projects? Which solution do you prefer? We greet you and give you an appointment at the next article in this section.

If you have missed previous appointments, we leave the links here:
See you next time!

CREDITS_The Micro-Wave
City: Buenos Aires
Architects: IR Arquitectura
Photo Credits: Fernando Schapochnik

CREDITS_The Micro-Cube
City: Sydney
Architects: Nicholas Gurney
Photo Credits: Katherine Lu