I use the word stupid here in its original meaning. I am referring to design solutions that, no matter how you rationalise or understand the process, are just … stupid.
My laundry – essentially a dryer and a washer – is built neatly inside a tiny cabinet in my kitchen. Once opened, the door can be tucked neatly inside the cabinet cavity. A great space saving design without a doubt.
Stupid: The dryer vents directly into the cabinet itself. All the moisture and dryer fluff is pumped out into the cabinet.
Stupid: The exhaust of the dryer is positioned less than a metre away from the domestic-interior-grade power points.
Operating the dryer with the cabinet door shut will saturate the cabinet with moisture. This will then cause the laminate to peel and the particle board panels to swell. With the cabinet door open, the entire apartment fills with steam. In Singapore’s already humid climate, this will surely contribute to the mould and mildew problem. I have a suspicion that many people will run the dryer with the cabinet door shut.
Why wasn’t the dryer ducted to vent to the outside? Or at least ducted through into the bathroom which is on the other side of the back wall? I would have thought bathroom fittings have a better chance of dealing with moisture than any other part of the apartment.
Here are some speculations as to why:
- There is an inability to think things through. This could be a failure in the architect’s training, or a general failure in teaching people to think.
- Myopia from siloed responsibility – the person designing the cupboard has no idea what it is for, or what is on the surrounding walls/spaces. The “not my problem” syndrome at work.
- Short term cost-cutting – it is better to sacrifice quality/longevity for a lower buy-price. Everything after the sale is the customers’ problem.
- Built-in obsolescence – a deliberate move on the part of the builder to secure ongoing revenue from replacing rotting cupboards.
- Greedy and ignorant customers who want a discount above all else. They don’t care about details or longevity. Penny wise pound foolish.
It doesn’t stop at the laundry either. I have a range hood.
Stupid: The range hood exhausts inside the cabinet above it. This renders both the range hood and the cabinet above it useless in one fell swoop.
When the range hood is turned on, all the steam, heat and smell is forced into the cabinet. Whatever I am cooking ends up coating everything inside that cupboard. Even when I don’t run the range hood fan, sufficient steam and cooking smells make it into the cabinet.
And here’s the catch: the wall to the right of the range hood is an exterior wall. The range hood could have exhausted directed outside, had anyone thought this through. Another alternative would have been to have the range hood exhaust directly into the kitchen. That would have made a little more sense than the existing setup.
With so many building projects going on in Singapore right now, I can’t help but wonder how many other stupid decisions are being realised right now.