The prototype SmartSpace nestled in a secret Berkeley location offers all the essentials for an urban dweller — and no more. Photo: Tracey Taylor
In a top-secret location in Berkeley, Patrick Kennedy is showing a reporter around a tiny living space — so compact in fact that, at 160 sq ft, it is the smallest apartment one is legally allowed to build.
“It is how small you can go without causing psychological problems,” jokes Kennedy, who, through his company, Panoramic Interests, is responsible for developing swathes of Berkeley. His projects include the Gaia Building on Allston Way, the Berkeleyan Apartments on Oxford Street, and the Touriel Building on University.
The “bijou” apartment in which we are standing, with its trompe l’oeil view of the Bay Bridge, is the prototype for the SmartSpace, a largely prefabricated, furnished space that, when multiplied and stacked together like Lego blocks, creates a fully fledged apartment building.
The SmartSpace comes with a sofa that doubles as a bed, a desk that doubles as a breakfast counter, a window bench that, at a pinch, doubles as a spare bed, a diminutive bathroom, and a surprisingly large amount of storage space.
Working with local company Zeta, Kennedy is developing two such buildings in San Francisco’s SoMa and Mission neighborhoods.
And Kennedy hopes to bring them to Berkeley too. He is bidding to build one 300-plus bedroom project for UC Berkeley. Kennedy believes these sustainably built, economical units would be perfect for students…