The Smart Apartment

And a Proposed Design for the National Information and Communications Technology Centre of Excellence

For the Bauhaus Serve City Sydney Trimester III, Wednesday 12 June 2002, in Sydney


  1. Introduction
  2. City Edge
  3. Wrong With iHome
  4. Home office design
  5. Design Project
  6. Smart Apartment Technology
  7. Design for NICTA
  8. Books
  9. Home Page

4. Some thoughts on home office design

Intelligent home projects, such as the iHome concentrate on inserting computer and electronic components into an otherwise unchanged standard home design. More befits might cone from designing the layout of the home and furniture for "smarter" use. One area where this can be done is the "Home Office". Modern home designs may provide a small work table in a corridor or next to the kitchen sink and advertise this as the "home office", but these do not provide the storage, security, flexibility and access to power and communications needed for a useful home office.

Some issues

There are a range of pre-built and modular home office furniture items available. These have major limitations:

Office in a box

To overcome these limitations the "fitted for but not with" approach of a military command and control center (Worthington 1999) can be used. A civilian equivalent is the LINCOS (Little Intelligent Communities) project's recycling of shipping containers into mobile digital community centres for the developing world.

The home office can be conceived as a few simple cabinets made to blend into the wall of the apartment. There would be generous provision for cabling with large cableways and holes in shelves, but without cable fitted. Each box would have one large hinged door, with one lock. Inside would be equipped with a desk and shelves as required. Modular units design for wardrobes or similar could be used for flexible low cost internal fit-out. The boxes could be built of standard modular units stacked up to near ceiling height and then a custom size door used to provide a neat finish.The large bulk of the units would be disguised by giving them a similar finish to the wall of the apartment, placing them in a corner and with a shelving or entertainment unit alongside (or built into parts). In this way the bulk of the unit would be lessened by appearing to be the wall next to a built-in piece of furniture.

Sample design

Suggested plan

A sample design is provided for a similar floor plan as an dxf file in AutoCAD format. Perspective drawings show the office open and closed. It should be emphasised these are quick sketches and do not take account of the location of power points, data, TV and telephone connections or the exact store required.

Office open

Home Office Perspective - open

Office closed

Home Office Perspective - closed

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