Good idea or bad idea?

A house that has only one room (like a box), but all the functions of the house are achieved with components inside the house. For example, there could be movable interior walls instead of permanent interior walls. Each house would be designed with the same interior components to ensure they all have functional housing, but they would be customizable (hence the movable interior walls).

Aside from my idea though (it’s just a vague example), I’m wondering about your opinion on a single room house with interior components. Good idea or bad idea?

If you want to start a discussion like this (again) why don’t you start by saying what you think of it yourself?

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Hi, if I had not watched this video I would have agreed with you.


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That video shows that you have a lot to gain with hearing other people opinions on subjects that matter to you.

It assumes others to be willing to give their opinions.

In the end, the aim of the video is selfish.

Thank you for sharing it, there’s truth in it.

I like to share opinions, not like that.


Something like this already exists, at least in conception for modular houses or apartments by a group at MIT. I did an illustration of one years ago for WIRED. You can read the article on the second image in this post and also make out the link the the group who built it.

Basically the whole apartment is on a type of rails and hinges, the room(s) are reconfigurable from bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, office etc.

If you can’t make it out it’s the Smart City research team at MIT: Overview ‹ City Science — MIT Media Lab

Some further reading:

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I think it’s a good idea if done correctly, but it’s a bad idea if done wrong. Feel free to share your opinion or any ideas about a single room house with interior components.

I think it’s more productive to communicate your ideas to people than to keep them to yourself because people can then give you feedback which improves your ideas. If everyone was the last one to speak, then nobody would speak at all.

I think listening to people’s ideas can be really inspirational & we should not prevent them from communicating their ideas. Even “bad ideas” can be really inspirational if you can find what you like about it.

Wow! That’s amazing. These modular interior components are great inspiration for my design. Thanks for sharing!

These could be pretty cool interior walls…

By the way, is it possible to cast molten rocks into a mold?


For me, ideas like this always prompt the question Why?

Some immediate practical problems arise. How would you deal with fixed appliances like bathroom fittings? What about kitchen units or any other built-in furniture? How would you deal with heating?

We have had variations on the theme for a long time, with open plan living and folding partitions. But in a house, how many people really want to go to the effort of swapping things around? It’s annoying enough when the TV remote isn’t where you expect it to be. Imagine if the whole house were like that.

This begins to have legs if you provide people with a simple self-supporting shell and then allow them to customize it internally so as to give it a personal stamp. You would still have to think really hard about what to do with things like windows and doors and basic services.


If you solve all the practical issues then the idea will work but only if you solve the cultural issue behind it too.

Also, it’s something that has been done before so, as long as the user is in the frame of mind of an idea like this then you’d have no problem at all.

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And a related article The Volcano Project by Kieren Jones

To be picky, a volcano is not something formed in a mould.

It’s an interesting question. Silicas melt at between 600C and 1200C. Compare that with iron at 1500C or tungsten at 3400C, both of which are regularly melted and moulded. So why is it not regularly done with stone?

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This is also not done in a mould but there are lots of vitrified forts in Scotland where stone walls have been heated and the stones melted together.

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I understand that molten rock as meant in this thread is usually called glass.

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I would assume because the effort doesn’t create a product as durable as that using metals.

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Stone is a heterogeneous material containing a mixture of contents, many of which would be considered impurities and would interfere with durability. Most metals are actually made from stone (“ore”) by removing the impurities.


Not to mention the appeal to most stone is in the incomplete mixture resulting in a visual texture or contrast of colors.

True. The photo however is not a volcano but rather the remnant of an igneous intrusion that may have formed a volcano that has since eroded leaving the once molten phonolite porphyry. The actual details of its forming has been debated. I was merely indicating with some humor that rocks can be melted.

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Good point. I confess I don’t know what different processes result in igneous rocks like granite or tufa that make them so different to anything vitrified. Pressure probably has something to do with it.

ForestrRegularMar 43
A house that has only one room (like a box), but all the functions of the house are achieved with components inside the house. For example, there could be movable interior walls instead of permanent interior walls.

I vaguely remember reading about something like this 10 or 15 years ago. I think it was in a book about Cliff May, the California architect, but I could be wrong. Anyway, the architect moved his family into a large rectangular box with only the bathroom having walls. The kitchen sink was fixed in place, of course, but nothing else. They had a whole bunch of closet/shelf units on wheels to move around as they wished. The kids no longer argued about whose room was bigger. The architect found it a valuable experiment in what spaces were used and necessary, but after a few years, the family moved into a conventionally (for California in the 50s) partitioned space.

I think it would be good for rental units. I suspect most people with this option would move in, rearrange a couple of times at the beginning, then leave it the way they like it. When new tenants come in, they can do it all over. But when thinking about the home you want to live in for a long time, it feels like wasting opportunity. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe a growing family could make use of this flexibility.

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