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Living in a city is great in many respects–there is an abundance of cultural activities, great restaurants, museums, music, and unique people to meet. But all those unique people, unfortunately, need places to stay! Of course, if you have a full-time job, you can probably find somewhere to hang your hat, but for students or others living a tight budget, even a studio apartment can start to seem like a luxury. For many, that means shared housing, which is a great solution if you have a good friend to stay with–not so much if you need your privacy.

One team of Chinese students may have found a solution through the magic of ergonomic design and clever use of space. Check out their mock-up of this cozy two-meter-wide (6.5-foot-side) apartment below!

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We’ve seen some pretty slender houses in Tokyo before, but not many will come close to being as compact as what these Yangzhou University students are proposing. The apartment, which might be more aptly called a closet, isn’t just two meters wide; it’s actually a cube measuring two meters on every side! That’s right, with a total floor space of only four square meters (roughly 43 square feet), this looks like it might be the same size as four capsule hotel units stacked together.

▼”That would be where you slowly go insane from being in such a small place!”

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Of course, being a tiny living space isn’t what makes this mock-up special–anyone can put a sleeping bag in a closet and call it an apartment. What this team did over a six-month period was apply ergonomics and clever design to the tiny space to make it as livable as possible.

▼It probably helps to be short like this young lady, too.

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The cube was made using supplies that apparently only cost the team about 2,000 yuan (US$325). In addition to a bed and cooking area, the model unit even provides room for a shower and toilet, which is probably better than your old college dorm room.

While this may bring to mind images of Korben’s apartment in The Fifth Element, it’s actually much more down-to-earth. For one thing, there aren’t any aliens, but for another, the apartment doesn’t seem to use any new inventions beyond very careful use of space. This is actually probably a strong point in favor of the design–the easier and cheaper they are to make, the lower the cost will be for people in need of cheap housing.

▼At least you can poop in peace!

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▼You may not be able host many dinner parties though…

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Of course, the Yangzhou University team isn’t the first group of people to come up with highly compact living spaces. In fact, we can’t help being reminded of the Nakagin Capsule Tower, iconic of Japan’s Metabolism movement, though we’re sure there have been some significant improvements in architecture since the Tower was first constructed in 1972. That said, this idea seems like it would work extremely well if it were combined with the “prefab” construction process used in with the Nakagin Capsule Tower.

Then again, if you’re over two meters tall (about 6.5 feet), no amount of ergonomic design will help you fit comfortably in this apartment. Still, if you’re the right height, this certainly seems like a much better choice than sleeping your car. In fact, this might be a great alternative for midterm hotel guests on a budget. Hey, it’s better than staying in a hostel dormitory with a group of backpackers who think showering is a conspiracy started by shampoo companies!

Sources: Shanghaiist, Sina
Images: qq.com