XS House by IS Architect: Erected to Blend With Urban Density and Street Life

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On a rectangular piece of land that is just wide enough to park a car, Architectuurstudio ISA has built the XS-House, a residential complex with seven apartments. The site of just 3.3 x 28 meters on the edge of Chinatown in Philadelphia was until recently used as a parking space for cars.

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If you had walked there a few years ago you would never have imagined that someone could live like this in this place. You probably just walked straight past this place, so small and inconspicuous it was then.

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But now there is a real residential complex. XS House contains a full-length basement apartment with two bedrooms, four micro-lofts, each with a sleeping mezzanine, and two duplex apartments.

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The building has a central staircase with the apartments on the left and right. The basement apartment and the apartments on the ground floor each have their own entrance.

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Because there are no height restrictions for the location, the architects could theoretically have made XS House even bigger. But then a different (more expensive) construction would have to be chosen, there would have to be a lift and an extra (fire) staircase.

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The apartments are compact. For example, the micro-lofts are approximately 46 m². The architects made clever use of the fact that cantilevers above the building line were allowed.

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The facade on the street side, therefore, has a number of box-like constructions. These serve as bay windows, the extension of the living room, or as the balconies. These constructions immediately give the facade a playful character.

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The interior finish is very basic, just like the exterior cladding: parquet floors, painted plasterboard, and white lacquered cabinets. Only the public stairwell has bold yellow walls and gray carpet.

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XS House is a good example of a project that shows that you can also use apparently useless residual spaces in the cities in a creative way for building apartments.


Gallery of XS House


Photography: IS Architect