AL (Automated Life)
AL. The apartment works for you. Not the other way around.


NYC moves fast. You're a businessman, sports enthusiast, entertainer and an

architect. You don't have time to move around walls and disassemble and

re-erect your digs on a daily basis.


Strangely enough I was inspired by a Facebook post by one of my old

college buddies. It was a post of the video "You Can Call Me Al" by Paul

Simon. In the video Paul Simon and Chevy Chase are in a white room with

a black door shaped void that Simon walks in and out of with various

items. Chase lip syncs the lyrics while Simon looks annoyed and nervous.

The video is entertaining, simple and timeless.

I wanted to recreate the look of the video in my design. I started with

the door. A black door just wouldn't cut it. My solution to this was

create a small foyer with a sliding glass door.

Countless hours and a few sleepless nights led to what you see. I

apologize for some of the poor rendering ahead of time. I don't have a

$1,000 rendering program but what I lack in visual aesthetic I make up

for in idea. No curtains, no cumbersome slabs of moving wall.

The apartment should work for you. Automation is a nice addition to the

modern life. In this apartment the lights dim, the heat is controlled,

the TV rotates where you want it to. All with the power of your voice or


What is controlled?

  • Lights

  • Heating System

  • Television Rotation ( think how nice this would be for telepresence).

  • Audio

  • Window shades?

  • Some Appliances


With the materials used I focused on sustainability, energy usage and


For all the cabinetry and kitchen table are bamboo construction. It's

very hard, lasts and can be constructed using very thin pieces. Even

using 1/4" thick bamboo a sturdy structure that will last many years can

be achieved. By using thinner boards it will maximize the amount of

storage with the units.

All the bamboo furniture will be painted using low VOC high gloss white

paint. This paint maximizes reflectivity and reduces energy consumption

by using less artificial light.

As exterior invading light is valuable I used glass as the main bathroom

component. Bathrooms block light. This bathroom lets most of it


Another thought was to refinish and reuse the original floor. Take off

some or all of that red paint and slap it back down. The red paint would

add a splash of color to the space.

Living Areas:

I'm going to try my best to break down the concepts of the design

starting with where I started: The foyer.

The foyer has many reasons for being. It is a "dirty" (not really that dirty) area.

Kick your shoes off and come in to the clean. The sliding door to the

main living area increases security. Get through the first door and

there is a second. The second door also eliminates the invasion of cold

or hot air from the hallway.

Within the foyer you will find:

-Thinbike Storage including an easy to clean drip tray (to capture dirt

and water brought in from the  elements). I am a year round biker in

Minnesota. I know how important this is. 

  • The rolling tool chest with small working area on top.

  • A spacious recycling and reuse center

  • The Bike Stand. This is used for power generation, exercise and bike


  • A shoe rack (with enough space for twelve pairs of shoes.

  • A coat closet.

Next is the bathroom. As featured on the Life Edited blog I have used

glass as the wall material.


  • The "J-Loo" This is my take on the toilet/sink combo featured on the

blog. The J-Loo features a grey water reuse system

  • A Large Steam Shower.

  • I still need to integrate a medicine cabinet (I have a really good

idea for that).


I have fitted all the required appliances with in the kitchen. You had

mentioned you liked the kitchen you open to the rest of the living

space, be open. When washing dishes you'll have a view out the lightwell

window. Better than a blank wall I guess.

Dining Area:

The table is wall mounted. The total length is 7 feet and 10 feet with

the arm-in-sleeve style leaf pulled out.

Each set of two legs holds two resource furniture CIAK chairs.

The main guest seating is achieved using four BINGbamBENCHes (more about

that later). Twelve guests are seated in comfort. When not in use three

benches store against the wall and the fourth becomes the living area

coffee table.

Master suite:

The master suite simply holds the Resource Furniture Ulisse queen bed.

Opposite the Ulisse is the UMI and a central wardrobe for

clothing/general storage.

Guest / Living Area:

A Resource furniture DOC couch is the anchor of the space. This couch

converts to a bunk for two guests. Again, opposite is a wardrobe for

clothing/general storage plus the UMI. From the couch the occupant

should be afforded a good view of the neighborhood.

General un-designed storage:

The unit adjacent the guest space is an undefined wedge of storage area.

I will let you configure that space to your choosing.

Office / Sustainability Hardware:

The office meets your size specs. I have seen so many (almost all) the

designs lacking a proper sized monitor. Mine is 31". Perpendicular to

the monitor on its own platform is the MacBook Pro. Above the 31"

Monitor is the main Mac server and document scanner (not pictured).

Above the computer and scanner is the DC to AC power inverter. This take

the energy produced by bike generator and turns it

into usable power for small appliances and electronics charging. On the top shelf is a battery bank (after the deletion of the solar panels the bank will be much smaller than pictured).

Other Concepts:

Main living area:

This is an open area. Do what you want with it. The main idea is to have

open space? Right? Just use it and enjoy it. The only main component that invades into the main space is the flip down table.

Bike generator:

For me this one is a no-brainer. Exercise in the winter, create power,

fix your bike. You have the bike inside. All you need is the stand,

generator and wiring and you have power generation. Plus it all tucks

neatly into the foyer.

The Central Monolith: The most important part of this entire design may be what I call the central monolith. It's the least noticeable and possibly the most important. The monolith is the storage area jutting out from the wall between the master and guest suites. This unit separates the rooms and allows for privacy doors on each room. When the doors are open and someone walks into the apartment from the outside world the open space is laid before them. The is no obstruction to the space and windows beyond. 

I would live in this concept. Would you? It's a design that is

comfortable and doesn't compromise space for function. Again, I have to

reiterate that there are no moving walls, the furniture is comfy and

curtains are nonexistent.  I'm also pretty sure it's the greenest of all

the designs in the contest. Heck, maybe Paul and Chevy will come over to do a duet.