Smart Apartment

by Tom Worthington

This project is for the the design and construction of an Internet connected home office or 'smart apartment'. It is planned to be built into a pre-designed one bedroom unit at the City Edge development in O'Connor, Canberra. As well as providing the design for a real apartment, it is intended the design documents will be published to promote the design of net connected homes and offices.

A draft set of requirements were prepared in March 2001 for a professional interior designer to work from. However, these were considered too restrictive and limiting for a creative designer. To explore ideas for the 'smart apartment' a proposal was put to the Department of Science and Design, University of Canberra for their interior design students to undertake it as a course project. Mr Ross Anderson, Associate Lecturer, Architecture and Building, Department of Science and Design, University of Canberra responded and the project was set as a design studio project for second semester 2001.

The design of an Internet connected home was seen as relevant and contemporary design challenge for students. Previous efforts to design internet enabled homes have been relatively superficial. The requirements document for the Smart Apartment will be revised to give more scope for interior design students to deal with issue of spatial planning, colours, etc. However, architecturally endorsing the City Edge development in O'Connor was not considered appropriate for a course. At Mr Anderson's suggestion the project was changed to re-fitting an apartment in a building designed by the Swiss architect Le Corbusier.

Unite d'habitation

General view of building showing pilotis

The apartment building Unite d'habitation was to be a self-contained 'vertical city', with modular housing units for 1600 people, internal streets and community services.

While having been designed decades ago, Unite d'habitation has a design similar to current open plan apartments.

The design may be tested using The Wedge a three dimensional visualization system at the Department of Computer Science, Australian National University, where the author is a Visiting Fellow.


Tomw Communications Pty Ltd agreed to donate a small cash prize for the best apartment design. This was awared to Ian Douglas on 8th November 2001 at the End of Year Exhibition for the Interior Design Students of the University of Canberra.


Proposal for studying Unite d'habitation and description of it by Mr Ross Anderson.


Further Information

Modular, Energy and Water Efficient Houses

Home office design

Unite d'Habitation