As this small island becomes more and more cramped, with a population approaching 70 million, we should spare a though for the Hong Kongese who have long been living in cramped conditions; and perhaps stop moaning about the fact that our new homes are getting smaller and smaller – indeed, in a story your blogger wrote about modern homes a while back, one couple’s living space was so bijou they had to keep their vacuum cleaner in the car.
In Hong Kong, a family of four typically lives in a flat of less than 50 square metres, and property prices are among the highest in the world at £9200 per square metre. In the seventies, architect Gary Chang grew up in a 32 sq m flat in the Kowloon area. The apartment was partitioned into three tiny bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. Mr Chang slept in the hallway while five other family members squeezed into two rooms – the third, incredibly, was rented out.
c Back in 1961, a government report called Homes for Today & Tomorrow specified minimum space requirements for new homes. These came to be known as the Parker Morris standards (Parker Morris was the chairman of the Central Housing Advisory Committee which produced the report).
The guidance was addressed to both the private and public sector and by the end of the 1960s the space standards were mandatory for all council housing but not for private housing. The report recommended that five persons residing under the same roof should have a minimum of 84.5 sq m to live in. Compare this to Mr Chang’s home…
Anyway, let’s get used to it – as land becomes more expensive, our new homes need to be bijou to remain affordable, and architects across the world agree that small living spaces must be absolutely perfect in their finish if we are to stand living in them: one gouge in the wall of a small flat is going to be far more visually discordant compared to a similar sized flaw, say, in a spacious salon at Buckingham Palace.
So we at Plastic Surgeon find ourselves getting involved in yet another niche market when it comes to our repair expertise. We can help the contractor/homeowner present their tiny flat as perfect, flawless and without anything to jar human visual perception. We can repair walls, floors, doors and glass, as well as baths, bidets, sinks and worktops. And at a fraction of the cost compared to replacement.