Pine Mezzanine Adds a New Room to a Small Apartment

When you’re living in a tiny apartment, every square inch counts. Finding space to carry out all your daily functions and store your belongings can be challenging, but there’s one nearly foolproof way to solve the problem: just look up. Making use of empty vertical space can dramatically alter how large a room feels, especially when you’re able to create new built-in furniture and storage solutions like this one.

Hao Design pine mezzanine gabled entry
Hao Design pine mezzanine stairs

In Taiwan, Hao Design completed a wooden bridge-like mezzanine out of pine plywood that includes stairs, bookshelves, drawers and a work table while also connecting the master bedroom to a new walk-in wardrobe.

Hao Design pine mezzanine wardrobe

Prior to the renovation, the apartment was just one level, with a single bedroom. The redesign takes advantage of the full height of the space and strategically places new surfaces around windows to magnify incoming natural light. The lofted bedroom platform features a clear Plexiglas wall to keep it feeling bright and spacious, and the new closet is situated on top of the first-floor bathroom. 

Hao Design pine mezzanine workstation

The combination of the loft platform, bookshelves and new work area under the stairs pack a lot of uses into what might otherwise be wasted space. Even the undersides of the steps offer a place to store books and other items.

Hao Design pine mezzanine kitchen

The designers continue the pine plywood theme throughout the apartment, including the hallway, living room and open-plan kitchen for a cohesive result. It’s a great example of how a simple, inexpensive material like plywood can elevate a space, bringing in natural color and texture that gives the home warmth and character.

Wood-Frame Emergency Shelters Made From Earthquake Rubble

emergency shelters 1

What’s the fastest way to erect quick, comfortable and durable emergency shelters while simultaneously clearing away rubble after an earthquake? Renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, known for brilliant relief projects and ingenious use of paper products in architecture, has a solution so smart, it’s a wonder nobody thought of it already. This design is a modular shelter consisting of a wooden framework filled with brick rubble salvaged after a disaster.

emergency shelters 2 emergency shelters 4

Conceived after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that devastated Nepal in April, these temporary relief shelters are low-cost and easy to assemble. Roof trusses are made from local paper tubes and sealed with plastic sheeting. Rubble is simply stacked within the wooden frames, which can be made with local materials and put together quickly.

emergency shelters 3

This particular project visually references Nepalese architecture, but the concept could be adapted for virtually any place in the world where lumber is readily available. The first small shelter based on this design is expected to be complete in Nepal by the end of August in collaboration with Ban’s humanitarian organization, Volunteer Architects Network (VAN).