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The loft hits a wall

Loft, open concept condos, artist studio style apartment: these words sound sweet to the ears of most potential buyers. However, these spaces without partitions sometimes give the impression of buying wind and living in them requires quite a sense of organization.

Is the loft still the darling child of real estate or an endangered space? Will we soon see the six and a half counterattack? Perhaps we simply rediscover the pleasure of closing a door from time to time?

“When I was looking to buy an apartment, as I am single, my agent only guided me to fully open studios,” says France-Michèle, a friend animated by the subject “For or against lofts”? launched during a dinner. “No, but I hate that my clothes smell like food!” And I don’t want to find myself even more alone, between four walls, as they say! “Marie-Carolyne, who dines with us also exclaims:” I like to read and my boyfriend listens to TV nightly. Since the room is not closed, it is starting to become a nightmare. ”

Who does not know a couple who experiences this type of problem? Torn between the desire for a large space with a magazine look and the need for privacy: “It’s because people start to get tired of having each other, the mess and the kids in the face!” “Adds Céline, editor-in-chief of a luxury magazine, also at the table with us. It must be said that her own desire for intimacy is so powerful that she has lived for 10 years in many partitions of her boyfriend, that is … five houses away! Not to say, the theme of the loft animates a discussion! However, most of the new real estate projects persist and sign “open-style-loft-condo-style”!

“At the start, our houses are not very large, says architect Gilles Saucier. It is therefore normal that we sometimes want larger spaces. However, if we systematically knock down all the partitions, the space can then be badly defined ”. For him, too much furniture and decorative elements can create a visual overabundance that is dangerous for reading the space. “People have too many things and often use too many colors in their environment, even two or three for the same room, which reduces the scale of the space. By simplifying its environment, there is less need to knock down partitions, because the loft in its extreme definition is difficult to live for the common run of people ”.

No wonder we find more and more the mention “possibility of another closed room” in real estate ads. As if all of a sudden, we apologized for having knocked down the partitions. Should we think twice before “smashing”, a verb that has sounded cool for more than a decade?

“The big problem is the large, poorly proportioned spaces,” explains architect Anne Carrier. To respond to a fashion, several people tried to create large spaces simply by knocking down partitions. However, these arrangements, which were not designed by an architect, are often poorly designed. A large room, full of angles and filled with passage areas, ignoring light, can be very uncomfortable. In short, it is not because a room is large that it is necessarily pleasant to live in it ”.

Is Big is beautiful not a statement in the housing sector? Candy.

“A house filled with small rooms can be very interesting, if the whole is well planned and not too busy,” adds Gilles Saucier. This will cheer up many six and a half!

Optional partitions

But does this mean that lofts are endangered spaces? “Of course not! launches Hugo Gagnon, designer. But I am in favor, like many of my colleagues, of the loft with private areas ”. According to him, you have to think about optional, flexible, swappable partitions: “Families evolve, children arrive and they will leave. We work one year at home, the following year, no. This is why I advocate the walls on rails or which pivot, the low walls and the screens which let in the light, a suspended hearth which acts as a separator ”.

For a project, Hugo Gagnon has already cut out part of the original walls to obtain an atmosphere that is both airy and intimate.

As fusional as they are, there are few people who do not need privacy. For him as for most architects, the pure and hard loft is difficult to live with. “Lofts revisited with zones offer the best of both worlds,” he adds. A mix between six and a half on 980 square feet, very practical in 1950 when the average family counted eight children and the 2000 square feet cathedral roof with brick walls without partitions, emblem of the pride of ultra-branched singles of the 90s. The idea of the revisited loft with moving areas and partitions adapts perfectly to the contemporary lifestyle.

“When a child is born, all that really matters to him is his habitat, his comfort. And this is what counts for the vast majority of people until the end of their lives, whether it be security, heating, lighting, etc., thinks Émilien Vachon, director of Laval University School of Architecture. As the individual evolves, the nature of their comfort needs changes, becomes more refined, because of their cultural and economic environment, because of their industrial environment. This explains why for some, the transformable open space becomes an element of well-being, while the partitioned, proportioned, appropriable space becomes an object of comfort for others. ”

For example, for Mr. Vachon, the quality of the atmosphere also implies visual comfort. Imagine a place whose depth is 50 feet. “It can be moving when you place a rose bush there. At 50 feet, you can see greenery. If we advance, we perceive a flowering and if we advance more, we perceive flowers. These perspectives are more moving for some than a long corridor with doors. So, as long as humans have the choice to define their comfort themselves, with means that are likely to be increasingly easy, I do not believe that the loft is in the process of disappearing. ”


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