15 urban homes of the future revealed on shortlist for Dezeen and MINI Living competition

Parasitic structures, 3D-printed homes, floating architecture and even flying houses feature on the Dezeen x MINI Living Future Urban Home competition shortlist.

15 designs have been shortlisted in the competition, which called on Dezeen readers to design a home for 100 years in the future.

The contest asked readers to the consider the challenges that cities will face over the next century, and to propose innovative solutions for urban homes to overcome those challenges.

The competition also asked submitted designs to respond to the MINI Living maxim “big life, small footprint” by making the most of available space in cities.

We received over 400 entries from around the world, with 15 designs from readers based in nine different countries making the shortlist.

A jury comprising Dezeen editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs and editorial director Amy Frearson, alongside MINI Living creative lead Oke Hauser and designer Corinna Natter, will pick the top three designs from this selection.

The final winners will be announced on 17 January 2019, with £10,000 of prizes available: £5,000 for the winner, £3,000 for the runner up and £2,000 for third place.

Read about all of the shortlisted designs below, and see more images and drawings of each concept at the bottom of this story.

An Urban Anti-Monument by William Maddinson (UK)

Edinburgh University masters architecture student William Maddinson has proposed a system for building homes over waterways in cities by combining two traditional typologies – the bridge and the terraced house.

His An Anti-Urban Monument concept draws power from the river current and features innovations such an inflatable facade. The design attempts to address issues such as extreme land value increases and flooding, which Maddinson believes will affect many cities in future.

Architecture of the Forest by Jonathan Hellsten (Sweden)

Architect Jonathan Hellsten believes that urban green spaces will all but disappear in future due to rising housing demands. But rather than simply incorporating plants into his design, he has proposed a new architectural structure based on how trees are layered in a forest.

Hellsten envisages building the structures, which host a series of elevated homes, in leftover urban spaces. He suggests this could be a way of increasing the density of cities, while creating urban environments that retain some of the characteristics of the natural environment.

Cocoon BioFloss by Maria Vergopoulou. (UK)

Architect Maria Vergopoulou’s Cocoon BioFloss concept is a micro home made from extremely fine bioplastic fibres, reminiscent of strands of candy floss.

Vergopoulou imagines a future where modern building materials have become incredibly scarce. She suggests that this will lead to a new DIY movement, where people grow vegetables to produce bioplastic, which they use to build their own cocoon-like homes.

Domestic Replica by Superficium Studio (UK)

Domestic Replica is a new kind of housing that speculative architecture and design firm Superficium Studio envisions could appear in cities, as huge floating slums such as Makoko in Lagos become more common throughout the world.

The floating homes are constructed from machine-fabricated wood structures, which would be manufactured locally and distributed to slum dwellers for self-assembly.

Dwelly by Jasmax and Beca
New Zealand

Dwelly is a modular system by New Zealand firms Jasmax and Beca, which can be used to create homes in leftover urban spaces, in between, on top of, or even on the side of existing buildings.

Homes are built by stacking different units on top of each other, and are designed to be quick to build and dismantle. The architects believe this will be beneficial for cities such as Wellington in New Zealand, where extreme storms and earthquakes are increasingly predicted.

Freespace by Nicholas DeBruyne and Ryan Cotterill (UK)

3D printing will lead to cities filled with tower blocks of personalised apartments, according to architects Nicholas DeBruyne and Ryan Cotterill. Their Freespace concept comprises skeletal, multi-storey structures, into which residents can 3D-print their own unique living spaces.

DeBruyne envisages that each resident would have access to their own 3D printer, enabling them to make changes or additions to their living space whenever they want.

Happy Nomad by Dagmara Zurek, Zuzanna Kołakowski and Magda Blicharz (Poland)

Happy Nomad is a construction system comprising vertical towers that support branching platforms of modular living units and communal spaces.

Dagmara Zurek Zuzanna Kołakowski and Magda Blicharz designed the structures so they can be built in a wide range of different environments all around the world. They are intended to cater to a new nomadic way of living, which sees people constantly move from place to place, rather than putting down roots in one city.

Hour Glass by Studio McLeod and Ekkist (UK)

Architecture firm Studio McLeod and wellbeing consultant Ekkist also envisage a nomadic future for urban living. They imagine people living in small, sculptural homes that can fly from city to city, powered by heated balloons.

According to the concept, residents would temporarily dock their mobile homes in urban frame structures, before moving on to their next destination.

House of Plenty by No-To-Scale and Joseph Robert Goodwin (Malaysia and UK)

House of Plenty is a slim, vertical home made from reclaimed plastic and metal. The small footprint is intended to address the issue of land scarcity, while the use of recycled materials aims to address scarcity of resources.

Architecture studio No-To-Scale and architectural designer Joseph Robert Goodwinenvisage connecting multiple houses together through circular pathways elevated above the rest of the city, in order to provide communal parks and urban farms for residents.

Nested Birds by Junbo Qu (Australia)

As cities get more and more built up, architecture graduate Junbo Qu is concerned that the people that live in them will become increasingly confined.

Qu’s solution is to create a new kind of tower block, in which homes are split between two separate units. A series of bridges, lined with greenery, runs through the centre of the building, forcing residents to regularly go outside as they move from one unit to another.

Nido by German Eduardo Ferradas (Argentina)

Universidad Nacional de Córdoba architecture student German Eduardo Ferradas imagines the home of the future to be more like a digital service than a fixed structure. In his Nido concept, residents live in mobile, personalised pods.

The spherical micro homes comprise steel frames that can be wrapped in a variety of different skins, according to the preferences of the occupier. Customers are able to order, customise and control certain functions within their home via a mobile application.

Personalized Creative Capsules by SomePeople (USA)

New York studio SomePeople imagines that people in the future will live in a series of interconnected capsules that will expand and adapt as their lifestyle changes or their family grows.

In SomePeople’s Personalized Creative Capsules concept, computers would monitor occupants’ behaviour and suggest new modules to be added to their home based on this information. These would then be fabricated on site to the individual’s exact specification and added to the home.

Sky Nuclei by Nicholas Stafford and Melody Won (UK)

Consultants Nicholas Stafford and Melody Won imagine a future where, due to limited space on the ground, a new layer of hovering homes occupy the space directly above cities.

The solar-powered living pods in their Sky Nuclei concept would be impervious to ground-level natural disasters such as earthquakes or tsunamis. They imagine that each home would come equipped with its own mini transport drone to enable the occupants to get to the ground when needed.

The Kentish Classic by The D*Haus Company (UK)

The D*Haus Company predicts that period properties will still be popular in 100 years time. But the architecture firm imagines a future where the streets of many cities have become flooded, making the original architecture uninhabitable.

The Kentish Classic is a proposal for Kentish Town in London, which sees homes with CNC-cut replicas of Georgian terraced houses built on top of flood-proof 3D-printed platforms. The result would be a city that looks very similar to London today, but featuring Venice-like waterways instead of streets and roads.

The Urban Cloud Network by Cievanard Nattabowonphal and Montakan Manosong (Germany)

The Urban Cloud Network is a project that imagines that, due to ever-increasing population growth, a huge network of interconnected parasitic structures will be built in the spaces between high-rise buildings in cities such as Hong Kong.

Architecture students Cievanard Nattabowonphal and Montakan Manosong propose that this elevated network of homes, walkways and parks would be built from recycled materials, and would tap into the existing architecture of the city for water and power.



15 urban homes of the future revealed on shortlist for Dezeen and MINI Living competition


  • BuffBadger

    It assumes of course that we’ll not have destroyed ourselves through over resourcing by then!? However… indeed good design concepts with a little hope thrown in.

  • Couper

    I do like the manner in which you have framed this issue plus it does indeed present me some fodder for thought. However, through what I have personally seen, I only trust when the responses stack on that folks remain on issue and not embark on a tirade regarding some other news du jour. All the same, thank you for this superb piece and though I do not really concur with it in totality, I regard the perspective.

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