Dutch practice UNStudio has unveiled images for the new Van B residential project, sited along Munich’s future creative quarter, the Kreativquartier. The ongoing work will offer a completely new housing type that reimagines the future of urban living. As a prototype for modern city dwelling, Van B is designed to cater to changing demographics and multiple family constellations. With its highly flexible apartments, outdoor and shared communal spaces and striking facade, Van B offers a new form of urban living.
UNStudio founder Ben van Berkel comments on the Van B residences in Munich: “What makes Van B truly special and unique is that it offers a completely new form of ‘smart’ living. This is not smart in the usual sense of tech integration; it instead involves reinterpreting ideas from the digital world in order to improve the analogue, physical spaces we inhabit.” The architect continues. “Individual spaces in our homes have had to become multi-functional, serving as offices, gyms, living rooms and sleeping nooks, all at the same time. This means that now, more than ever before, we need to develop new living concepts that cater to the changing demands of our homes.”
In designing the Van B project, UNStudio notes that flexibility has become more important to people today than sheer size. With Van B we introduce new ways to make the footprint of an apartment more flexible. The architectural strategy was to devise as many different ways as possible to reconfigure an apartment. To achieve this, we designed an adaptable partition and furniture ‘plugin-based’ system that allows homeowners to use the space in a 40m2 apartment almost as if it were a 60m2 loft. The Van B plugin system allows you to easily change the use of the same floor space in a matter of seconds, making it possible to transform a room from a generous office into a cozy living room, or a bedroom.
Van B challenges old conventions of square footage and fixed footprints to empower people to live in more flexible ways. Quality meters become more important than square meters. The flexibility lies in the fact that each element can work in different configurations and that the resident can chose an individual configuration of plugins based on a catalogue of nine elements. In order to achieve this, a grid was devised upon which each element is based, as whenever one element is opened, the back of the other one needs to be adjacent to it. This means that no matter which elements the homeowner chooses, and no matter how they arrange them inside their apartment, the modules will work together,
With the possibility to reconfigure the apartment to their immediate needs, the homeowner can choreograph their space around their day, instead of the other way around.
“Related ideas have been seen in architecture in the past, but Van B goes beyond traditional ideas of flexibility as we know them in architecture,” continues Ben van Berkel. “It is more intelligent, adaptable and user friendly, while also providing high levels of comfort.”
Van B offers a variety of apartment types and sizes including one to three room apartments, flats, gallery lofts and rooftop flats, each catering to different demographics and resident constellations.