In Christchurch, a city still recovering from a devastating series of earthquakes, architects and designers are rethinking their built environment and experimenting with new ideas. Exhibit A is MegaTower, a high-tech compact house designed by Thom Criag Architects on the site of a former public toilet. The tiny, inner-city site is just 5 x 5 metres, but the architect has created a four storey 'tower' to make the most of the space...
After so much devastation and destruction, Cantabrians are exploring new ways of building and designing for their city. This innovative project is no exception. It's remarkable what the architects have been able to achieve on such a tight site.
MegaTower tapers as it rises to four storeys. This allows the architect to squeeze as much space as possible out of the maximum plot ratio for the site. At ground level there's a garage, laundry and stair to the living levels.
On the first floor is a living area and kitchen. Up one more level is a bedroom with ensuite bathroom. A mezzanine level above the bedroom is a library space. The pinnacle of the home, both literally and figuratively, is a roof deck which takes in 360 degree views of the city.
An atrium extends over all four storeys of the home, ensuring access for light and ventilation to all levels.
The home only has windows facing South because the other three walls are on the boundary. Clad in silver aluminium, this facade contrasts with the remaining three blank, black facades. A system of electronic adjustable louvres is a high-tech feature which during the day opens up to bounce light deep into the home, while at night they can be closed for privacy and security.
"The client has provided a ‘generous build’ that generates visual and physical richness to the surrounding existing built fabric, both during the day (totem) and night (lantern)." - Thom Craig
As new homes and buildings emerge from the ruins all over Christchurch, projects like MegaTower are a valuable experiment in what the city can become. Repurposing the site of a public toilet as a towering tiny home wouldn't even occur to many, so the project's creativity and imagination will hopefully give more prospective builders scope to experiment.