What I appreciate about design is that it is continuously transforming, improving, and making life changes in human well-being overall. My ambition is to evolve with it, continuing to bring meaning to spaces on an emotional, physical, and social level through creative human-centered design.
This generation needs more affordable, inclusive living environments that promote a sense of community and a collaborative economy. Sparks Co-living integrates universal design into the new trend of co-living spaces to benefit both able and disabled post-graduate millennials, financially as well as socially. Co-living is shared housing for people with shared intentions, individuals seeking housing will live independently while sharing amenities that bring them together. Sparks Co-living will act as an extended service branch of Humber College. This is a partnership with a trend that supports their postgraduates living-wise, reminding them that even after graduation, “we got you”, let’s spark up inclusive living.
Rationale and Design Narrative
Sparks Co-living strives to redefine living spaces for individuals that are part of the millennial generation. This serves the purpose of creating not only a more affordable living solution but a social community-based living environment for like-minded postgraduates beginning their adult journeys. This generation specifically will suffer the most from the affordable housing crisis and have also become the loneliest generation to date. The route idea of co-living is socialized community-based living. This co-living design aimed to take the routed idea to a new level by increasing optimal amounts of inclusive living, using design features prompted by the seven principles of universal design. These seven principles include Equitable use (Accommodates a wide range of abilities), Flexibility in use (Easy to understand regardless of the user), Simple and Intuitive use (Ease to understand), Perceptible Information (Communicate necessary information), Tolerance for Error (Minimizes hazards), Low Physical Effort (Efficient use with minimized fatigue) and Size and Space for Approach and Use (Regardless of users body size or mobility).
Design Connection to Research
Many current co-living arrangements fail to provide an inclusive space for all individuals that may want this living experience. Universal design is designing for everyone. It is designing products, interior features, and spatial techniques to help people live and function to the highest degree of independence. Universal design can improve the home for its current and future residence, creating an increase in marketable space. The inclusivity of this design method maximizes the number of people who can use it. The Kitchen Lounge serves different abilities with an accessible cabinet extending system for easy use/low physical effort. It also provides an accessible countertop/cook space. The lounge spaces implement collaborative flexibility with various seating options and compactable entertainment games such as the foldable pool table for more space when needed. Social spaces have legible perceptible information, such as the large contrasting text of room names for visual ease. Skylights are used to maximize daylight through the hallways and social spaces, and led lighting is used to illuminate hallways and backlight signage for wayfinding.
Character of Space
Sparks Co-living is meant to re-engage interaction amongst individuals, the main conceptual inspiration comes from Pezo von Ellrichshausen’s Vara Pavilion for the 2016 Venice Biennale. It is described by the architects as a series of exteriors within one another. Spaces within spaces are created through interlocking and overlapping forms. This sparks the form of interaction between social spaces. The interlocking and overlapping curved form will be found apparent in the shape of the central spaces within the floor plan. Reveals will be used strategically to reinforce the idea of interlocking views using transparent and segmented partitions. Partitions will create connective spaces as they continuously roll into one another as curved segments. Durable woodgrain LVT, Viesso eco- friendly furniture, and sustainable materials are used throughout the space. Warm woods and accented colours are meant to represent a sophisticated environment as it is for young adults, while also inviting them outside of their single rooms to a social home.
The program consists of a series of collective spaces available to residents. There are a total of 21 single rooms, 25% of the single rooms are accessible for individuals in wheelchairs. Each resident’s room is intended to introduce universal design features such as adjustable height desk surfaces, pull-down system closets to convenience both short and tall individuals, and walk-in showers with built-in seating. The collective spaces include the Kitchen, Cove Lounge, Atrium, Entertainment room, Fitness Studio, Convenience Hub/Juice Bar, Quiet spaces, Mailroom, and Laundry rooms. There is a balance between social and private spaces that remind residents that they can interact with one another, as well as have their option of solitude spaces. Full-time front-reception desks and housekeeping are available, lounge spaces open 24/7, and technology advancements through the Sparks Co-living app make living easier.