MIT CityHome gesture

Apartment rental prices in large cities (and even in some smaller ones) are climbing rapidly into the “not at all possible” range. Many people are living in spaces which previously would have been considered way too small. MIT’s Media Lab’s Changing Places group has invented a completely ingenious way to make a minuscule 200 square foot apartment into a palace by comparison.

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MIT CityHome entertaining

The group’s CityHome is a sort of room within a room; it is essentially a box that fits inside an apartment and contains everything you need to make your apartment comfortable. It is controlled via a series of gestures, voice commands, and touches which extend and retract different elements of the cube. Turn the tiny closet-sized structure into a comfy bedroom by gesturing for the bed to roll out. Put the bed away and pull out a long table that can seat six.

Other features include an extending kitchen counter and a large work desk. When you’re having company over and want to create a certain atmosphere, special apps can program colored light shows that would be the perfect atmosphere for a party. And although it’s tiny, the CityHome contains enough storage to keep all of your stuff organized – provided you don’t have too much stuff.

MIT CityHome dining

Maybe the most interesting part of the CityHome is its ability to slide as a complete unit. It moves a few feet in one direction to double the size of your bathroom, then moves back the other way to increase the size of the living area. With rental prices approaching $1,000 per square foot in some cities, the CityHome could be the answer for young professionals or students who want to live comfortably, but without feeling like they are stuffed into a shoe box.

MIT CityHome bathroom

“We demonstrate how the CityHome, which has a very small footprint, can function as an apartment two to three times that size. This is achieved through a transformable wall system which integrates furniture, storage, exercise equipment, lighting, office equipment, and entertainment systems.”

MIT CityHome cooking

“One potential scenario for the CityHome is where the bedroom transforms to a home gym, the living room to a dinner party space for 14 people, a suite for four guests, two separate office spaces plus a meeting space, or an a open loft space for a large party. Finally, the kitchen can either be open to the living space, or closed off to be used as a catering kitchen. Each occupant engages in a process to personalize the precise design of the wall units according to his or her unique activities and requirements.”