MAX/MIN: maximizing and minimum footprint - Competition Winner


Category: Garage/Garden Suite
Collaborator: Paola Gavilanez, RID


  • Square Footage: 295 sq.ft. (not incl. exterior spaces)
  • Height: 16’ (to ridge)
  • Length: ~25’
  • Width: ~16’
  • Zoning Alterations: none


Our proposal is based on two simple premises:

  1. The potential of micro-urbanism (extremely small housing) has yet to be adequately explored in North America.
  2. Micro-urbanism addresses many of the complex challenges faced by our urbanization—from maximizing land efficiency and green space, to facilitating neighbourhood integration (via hidden density through small size), minimizing construction waste (via small building envelope) and maximizing energy efficiency (via minimizing exposed surface area relative to usable volume).

Small footprint. Quality Living. MAX/MIN.



REFLECTED ‘U’ SPACES: The design is organized around two opposite-facing u-shaped spaces—one attaching itself to the public realm, the other to the private. The orientation is interchangeable, allowing MAX/MIN to adapt to various site conditions and contexts, through rotating the building.

INTEGRATED PRIVATE OPEN SPACE: Access to a private outdoor space, no matter how small, is critical to the well-being of city dwellers. As such, private outdoor spaces are intimately integrated into the MAX/MIN proposal.

LAYERED SPACES & FUNCTIONS: Small spaces demand overlapping activities and maximizing (spatial) efficiency. MAX/MIN takes this as its modus operandi, made possible only by the incorporation of built-in storage/furniture, and moveable elements.

BUILT-IN STORAGE/FURNITURE: The smaller the space, the more storage must be considered with its design—maximizing organization and minimizing clutter. MAX/MIN offers all the comforts of a large home through intelligent built-in storage and furniture that takes advantage of all useable surfaces and cavities—walls, ceilings and floors. In real terms, MAX/MIN is a storage container from which individual spaces (eating, sleeping, relaxing) are excavated.

MOVABLE ELEMENTS: Critical to allowing layered functions and built-in storage/furniture is the incorporation of movable elements. From vertically moving floor platforms that allow the same area to accommodate different uses to sliding storage walls that transform the space, MAX/MIN embodies the fourth dimension of time.