It makes sense to integrate storage space with the overall design itself
When we hear the term ‘energy efficiency,’ most people link it to green architecture; so too with expressions such as ‘water efficiency,’ ‘day light factor’ or ‘indoor air quality.’ However, we forget to connect green sense to varied kinds of other efficiencies be it in space planning, multi-functionality or in visual privacies. The typical example of providing for household storage can be a case in point. People who lived in large traditional homes would immediately recall their childhood memories of stealthily walking up to the top-level attic of the house, to wonder at the assembly of innumerable objects there.
Keeping every object for a possible future use has been among the characteristics of Indian culture; as such, there is a huge demand for stores and shelves even in the smallest of houses. With house design being reduced to mere floor, walls and a roof in modern compact apartments, the residents are forced to go in for large plywood shelves at high costs, specially marketed in the guise of fashionable floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall wardrobes. These well-marketed ideas come at a huge cost and substantial space consumption, while the most prudent approach could be to integrate storage with the overall design itself.
So, the practice of casting a small slab atop the wardrobe area, puja room, toilet and such other places started. These of course were associated with the difficulty in accessing them, unnecessary depths, sheltering of cockroaches and lizards, besides the difficulty in cleaning them. There have been umpteen cases where people fell down while keeping items at such heights.
Alternatively, building an exclusive room called box room gets the consideration by many, if budget permits. Even though this room demands space, there could be efficient use of the room lined up with shelves at accessible heights. Another popular method is to store under the staircase, which comes with the drawback of spoiling the looks of the room and the stairs.
One of the direct applications of traditional attics can be found in staircase rooms. Proving for storage above the last stair in the highest space of stairs room is easy, where the last slab is cast with the usual ten ft. room height. As we climb up to this level, with no more staircases, there would be substantial heights achieved above the steps, where even the landing area would get minimum 15 ft. or more height. We can cast a slab here, running it exactly above the flights, such that we get 8 ft. clearance above the staircase even where the slab is closest to the stairs.
There could be families who believe in the much appreciable practice of discarding items periodically without hoarding any and at the other end, there could be those who keep them all. While the specificity of storage needs may vary, it still is a major demand and needs to be resolved, to create resource-efficient architecture.