Are we seeing the end of the open floor plan?
Are we seeing the end of the open floor plan?
Interior space planning has been constantly evolving since the first residential project. For many years, functionality dictated how it was organized, but soon after, cultural, social, and economic changes influenced the way people designed their living space, resulting in a spacious, versatile open floor plan. He wrote a lot – And criticized – About the open floor plan: who introduced it, how it was developed, its benefits, and/or lack thereof. Over the past two decades, open floor plans may have been among the most in-demand interior design concepts, but today, architects are leaning toward the opposite.
By definition, an open floor plan (also known as “open concept”) is the presence of two or more rooms within an interior space without any floor-to-ceiling walls and doors—in other words, without any structural separation. This concept is used in residential, commercial and industrial architecture, and aims to free up space, maximize usable space and enhance flexibility and interaction among its users. The terminology itself has also changed over the years; A few decades ago, the term “open floor plan” meant walls and partitions without doors, while today the term describes a living configuration completely without walls.
History of the open floor plan
Historically, the interior design of a home was often based on the social class of the family. Lower to middle-class homes featured a central fireplace flanked by two multi-purpose rooms, while upper-class families divided public and private spaces with halls and doors, creating a complex layout of rooms of different scales. Public spaces, which were relatively larger and more spatially unrestricted, served as hosting areas and were visually and physically isolated from the public. chaoticFunctional and private areas such as reception halls, drawing rooms, kitchens, servants’ quarters and bedrooms. A few decades later, industrialization, modernization, and mass production made amenities and appliances more affordable, allowing the working class and lower middle class to go into homes with more rooms, unlike previous conditions.
The evolution of building materials and construction techniques, coupled with changes in social and cultural dynamics, allowed architects to experiment with interior layouts and introduce more continuous distributions. Advances in heating and ventilation systems during the late 19th century, such as the use of steam radiators or registers, provided better thermal comfort so that residents no longer relied on central stoves for heating.
While Shingle-style architect Henry Hobson Richardson is often credited with introducing the open plan, especially with the Hay and Paine houses built in 1886, architecture critics believe that Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the first and most prominent advocates of the design Open in residential areas, Banyan. The architect centralized the kitchen and opened it to other areas of the house, focusing on it rather than hiding it behind closed doors. In the 1970s, it became increasingly popular in the United States to open up the kitchen, living and dining room, forming one large multi-purpose space – a very practical feature for homes with smaller spaces. Kitchens are no longer a “stain” that must be hidden at all times. The cultural mindset of consumption and socializing has changed, fueled by new technological advances in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that have allowed it to be a public gathering area in the home.
In modern times, the typical house of a small 21st century family with a working-class living environment has two to three rooms: a kitchen area and a living and/or sleeping area, which are multi-purpose and also used for work. However, today’s architects and homeowners have realized that designing homes around “hosting and entertaining” is wasteful, making the open floor plan no longer an interior design choice.
Pros of open floor plan
So why has the open floor plan gained such popularity? From a design perspective, open plans offer flexibility, versatility, and efficient use of space. Since there are no structural boundaries, designers can organize their space as they please, especially if they are dealing with a small-scale interior design. Fewer walls means more square footage. Open floor plans also allow natural light to reach more spaces within the building, saving energy and money spent on artificial lighting and heating. For parents with young children, these interiors provide visual and audio access so they are always close to their children. Another benefit of an open plan is that it promotes interaction between users of the space, whether that is preparing food and eating together or working collaboratively alongside colleagues in different departments.
Cons of open floor plan
On the other hand, the flip side of having no boundaries is simply, It has no limits. Many interior designers, architecture critics, parents, and office workers believe that it is time to end the tyranny of open concept interior design. These layouts have proven to be harmful rather than beneficial in office spaces. Combined with constant visual and audio distractions (be it from side conversations, ringing phones, printers, coffee machines, etc.), employees who work outdoors experience higher levels of stress, lower productivity, lower concentration levels, and more. Days of sickness. Privacy and confidentiality are also non-existent when office desks are placed openly without any surrounding walls or partitions. In residential architecture, many people have complained that removing barriers between the kitchen and living room results in odor and noise coming from the kitchen seeping into cleaner, quieter areas inside the home, regardless of the ventilation. To accommodate the open floor concept in larger homes, an enclosed space called the “dirty kitchen” was added to the side of the kitchen, which included fixtures that let in noise and odor (an uneconomical solution). The previously mentioned privacy problem in office spaces has also been observed in homes, and has been exceptionally highlighted during the pandemic.
So what does open plan look like today? And what do architects do to ensure an efficient and versatile space while maintaining privacy? In this in-house focus, we take a look at how architects are redefining the concept of the open floor plan with 15 projects from our database.
(In) Portables on Canvas / h3o architects
Apartment renovation in Sakurazaka / Ikada + Masaaki Iwamoto Laboratory
Les Events Space/RHO
Golf House / Degli + Architecture Workshop
CRA (Center for Artistic Residencies) / BURR Studio
Apartment Super 18/Hyper + Simon Henry
Partitions and low walls
Brezzola Coaster Desk / MonoFloor / Brezzola Architectural Coaster Desk
OCA Headquarters 03 / Oficina Conceito Arquitetura
Sunday Home / Architecture Architecture
Steps and platforms
Floor work space/INTG.
Esher House/Penn Architecture
Krupa House / Kappa Arquitectura
Brisa Home / Volca Interiors
2102CON Local Renovation / Terrario Arquitectura
GEA / JAA Arquitectos offices
You can find more open plan interiors in the My ArchDaily folder created by the author.
This article is part of an ArchDaily series exploring the features of interior architecture, from our database of projects. Each month we will highlight how architects and designers are using new elements, new characteristics and new signatures in interior spaces around the world. As always, at ArchDaily, we greatly value our readers’ input. If you think we should mention specific ideas, please provide your suggestions.
(tags for translation) architecture