Designing the Urban Home of the Future

Together with Studio McLeod, Ekkist won second place in the Dezeen & MINI Living Future Urban Home competition from over 400 entries. The competition asked for original and imaginative ideas for the future of urban living, demonstrating creative use of urban space in 100 years' time.

“The future urban home will be mobile, easily configured and reconfigured and health & wellbeing focussed”

Studio McLeod & Ekkist, 2018

The proposal: London & beyond

Simple sculptural homes move silently and cleanly, lifted by heated balloons, giving us the freedom to explore cities and nature alike. We choose where we wake up each day.


Homes dock in urban frame structures with their own architectural ecologies, with internal and external green spaces for community and exchange. Homes can pair up to create larger dwellings for families, who’s children in later life could detach and fly the nest, but have the ability to re-connect at any time.


The home has a small footprint with a roof that intelligently changes shape and opens as required, expanding to optimise the sense of space, or to provide another floor, or lower to create cosiness, while also considering the views of neighbours.

Hour Glass Urban Concept. Image courtesy of Studio McLeod

Cities today

Today, around 55% of the world’s population live in urban areas, which will rise to 68% by 2050 and further still by 2118. Yet, humans were nomadic for 99% of our known existence. Around 10,000 years ago we settled. Some believe it was due to a new ability to grow food, some that it was the need for expression & self-actualisation. In an increasingly urbanised world, many seek the notion of escapism, be it to travel the world or reconnect with nature and all that it has to offer. We present a possible future solution to spatial fixicity and urbanisation, which at the same time addresses our nomadic inner spirit.

Image courtesy of Studio McLeod

The future

In 100 years, space will be so valuable that it cannot be owned, virtual and flexibile working will extend to virtual and flexible living and health and wellbeing will be valued above all.


Technology will allow us to be virtually present anywhere. With computer aided thought and AI assistance, we will be mainly self-employed, sharing mental capacity, performing multiple roles to benefit society and working for personal and collective actualisation rather than necessity.


Our homes will produce, recycle and store both energy and water, while purifying our air and water and enriching it through the optimum chemical balances. Homes will be lightweight, changeable, yet strong and permanent, and able to withstand a range of climate change scenarios. Surfaces will have the ability to move, open and close, change from clear to translucent to colour, and simulate natural environments, with lighting in sync with our circadian rhythms. The need to be connected to nature will be better understood and more of a focus, and our homes will expand, contract and be mobile, according to our locational needs. We will have the freedom to live in the city or in nature, with a choice of when to be connected and when to be ‘off-grid’.


Open plan ‘freespace’ configures and reconfigures to suit one’s needs, with intelligent moveable surfaces which raise and lower to create anything from soft furniture, to partitions and floors. A soft chair could appear as you go to sit down, a partition could gradually rise and move to create a snug, or a side table appears to place your cup. The floor could lift you into the roofspace.



‘Freespace’ is served by a utility zone with interchangeable user-choice ‘units’ for cooking, washing, sanitation, storage or displaying personal items and art. Deliveries and collection will be by drone, which also allows the home to float between places.



AI & Augmented reality in the home is offset by real objects and natural materials and textures. Each home contains a hearth; a focal point in the space with a treasured item at the heart of it, such as a wooden table, or woollen rug or plant, which becomes the spiritual focus of each home.

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