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Compactness Index

What is a compact space?

Is three people living in 40 square meters considered compact or simply uncomfortably tight?

Can a large house be considered compact?

How does quality of life correlate with square meters ?

Has the time come to update the house+lawn+two-cars dream?

In order to create a field of knowledge of all things relating to compact living, we have created an index by which, one can estimate the compactness of various projects. The scale is comprised of seven elements: Proximity to the city center, area per person, cost per area, overlapping spaces, defined spaces, packed spaces and movement efficiency. 

3 index components that are the tenant 's responsibility 
The components are determined by the tenant, often even before a designer is selected for the project. These components are baseline data for planning.
4 index components that are the Designer's responsibility 
The components are determined by the tenant, often even before a designer is selected for the project. These components are baseline data for planning.
Proximity to the city center

A small unit isn’t necessarily compact.  In order for the unit to be compact, it must be part of a compacted system, or in other words, in the city.  If our compact unit is located in the suburb, creating the need for two cars to get to work… even forcing us to develop further infrastructure in order to get to our unit, in our living space, it isn’t compact, even if it is a small unit.

Efficient Circulation

When we buy/build a home, we pay a large amount per square meter. If we successfully lessen the spaces needed solely to pass from space to space within the home, we can use that space to create more potentially quality spaces.  Less movement means more  efficient space.

Area per person

The most simple component of them all. In order to measure how efficent and compcat is a space, we need to know how much sqm do we have per person.

 We can check that by deviding the space by the number of attendants.

Overlapping spaces

Today, multiple functions can be carried out simultaneously in the home, gaining the shared space, using it each time toward a different goal.   For example, if we combine the living room – dining room – kitchen and we don’t divide these spaces separately as has been done in the past, we save room and utilize the different spaces we have more efficiently.

Cost per area

As architects, our clients often come to us requesting to build as much as possible, in order to maximize the amount of space the city has given permission to build.  We’re asked to submit appeals in order to build more and more in the Great Race for Maximum Space.

Assuming that the project comes with some sort of budget, as the number of square meters goes up, the amount we have left to put into those square meters once they are built goes down.  If we build according to needs, both in space and in finances, we can then invest more money into each square meter.  In short – if we compromise on space, that allows us to form a better plan, use better materials or just save money.

Packed spaces

Spaces that aren’t used daily or that are only useful during specific times of the day can be folded away and disappear when they are not in use.  This allows us to create a feeling of space, avoiding the need to be crowded due to functions that normally don’t take place in that room.  A good example of this is our typical dining room, which in most homes takes up a room all by itself waiting for a festive dinner to take place once every couple of months.  In the mean time, it collects piles of laundry, mail or just incidentally takes up space.


Defined spaces

A "room", according to the Israeli Planning and Building regulations is a space whose minimum height is 2.5m, its size is at least 8m², and the minimum width between its walls is at least 2.60m. Moreover, a room must contain a window and a door.
A "room" is such a common term that has become a measurable element: an apartment will sometimes be put for sale as a "two-room apartment" rather than a flat.
There are two options for "defined spaces":

(1) "A non-room" - a room that does not meet the text-book definition of a "room" under the Planning and Building regulations and which produces a qualitative space even without this definition.
(2) Functional space for activity which is not closed at all sides but it can be understood that it is a place in itself. It is located in a public area of the house.

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