Japanese people know a thing or two about living small. It comes as no surprise that the nation overpopulating a tiny island is known for inventive approach to real estate. In this ABC report we can peruse an interesting overview of Japan’s small but very cool and beautiful dwellings and understand the logic behind their design. I was also pleased to see an interview with Azby Brown, whose books I love. Enjoy!
(thank you, Sinisa)
Architects David Pou van den Bossche and Estel Ortega (partners in life and in work with their firm Cubus Taller d’Arquitectura) created this unexpected small home in a 16-century hayloft David’s family owned as part of their estate. The space is tiny (only 60 square meters), but rather tall, so the only way to go was up. The architects created a two-story functional cube that houses all important living components – kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and storage. There is even a long desk that is used by both occupants as a joined home office. The architects wanted to leave the stone walls untouched so they didn’t mount anything to the walls (the only closed room in the home is the bathroom). The result: the small space feels larger because of unobstructed views from any corner of the house. I also quite like the contrast between the old and the new that is so tastefully done in this project. Check out the video by Fair Companies after the break for the tour of this unusual home.
The Bunkie is a collaborative effort between industrial design firm 608 Design and BLDG Workshop. A concept at this point, the project can be implemented on any plot of land and fit any landscape. The Bunkie can serve as a cottage or a guest addition to an existing home. Its clever design allows to accommodate four people. Two queen sized murphy beds are built into one wall while a dining table and four chairs are integrated into another. The transition between sleeping and dining modes is seamless and fast. All elements are pre-manufactured and shipped flat-packed to a location. Small enough not to require a building permit, the Bunkie is a low cost, low impact and low fuss house. It’d be exciting to see this project going live.
Out of many prefab house concepts I’ve seen lately, this one stand out. Created by New Zealand based architect studio Atelierworkshop, this house is a beautiful reincarnation of a prosaic shipping container. Just like a regular container it ships anywhere in a truck or a helicopter, attaches easily to any plot of land and allows comfortable existence for two adults and two children. The interior includes bunk beds, double bed room, dressing room, kitchen and bathroom. The space can be zoned with dividers, creating great versatility. Exterior canvas screens provide privacy when needed. The container house is environmentally clean and self-sufficient. It can even be suited to remote or non-service supplied land. Atelierworkshop is looking for partners to mass produce the concept.
Here is an interesting student dwelling concept from Swedish company AF Bostäder. As an alternative to multi-unit dormitory housing, they have built a small cottage with all the essentials a young scholar may require. The place includes a kitchenette complete with dining area, a shower bathroom and a sleeping loft. A study desk is conveniently located below the sleeping area. There’s even an outside plot for a bit of gardening. The projected rent amount for the cottage is the equivalent of $370 – something any student can afford. Right now the company is petitioning authorities to expand and create more free-standing student houses like this one. And the existing sample cottage is a subject of a steady competition among students for the right to live there.
Architect Han Slawik built this tiny home, called Housebox, as an attempt to create an affordable housing solution for people on the move. Inspired by shipping containers, the place is only 150 square feet big. Thanks to the fact that Housebox is a three story building, its footprint is even smaller, approximately 75 square feet. The first floor houses a small kitchen, dining area and bathroom; the bedroom is on the second floor, and the third floor is a place for a living area. Smart storage solutions around the house make this layout efficient. The benefits of this concept are numerous – the house this compact can be moved, it can fit in tight spaces, even parking lots. A true nomad home…
This project has been recently completed by Polish architect Jakub Szczesny in Warsaw. More of an installation and social experiment than an actual dwelling, the object is a response to the rising problem of urban housing in Poland. The house occupies a gap between two buildings, at its widest point it is less than 5 feet wide (and only a little over 3 feet at its narrowest). The building is so slim, there isn’t even a space for a window – sunlight enters through the tiny holes in the bedroom wall. “Research shows we are approaching a social disaster because too little living space is built, – the architect said in his interview to Daily Mail. – You don’t need that much space to live in, so it is worth considering building smaller scaled, cheaper housing.” Szczesny approached Israeli writer and film director Etgar Keret to get involved in the project. Keret will live in the building for six months, on and off.
(HT to my reader Ben Vlass)
Japanese architects are versed in complying with space limitations. Especially while building in Tokyo, one of the most overcrowded places on the planet. This unusual home, recently completed by architect studio ondesign, is literally utilizing the gap between two houses. The plot is only 9 square meters big (around 97 square feet). Which is why building vertically was the only option. The three-story house includes all that is necessary for comfortable living – kitchen, bath, sleeping and lounging areas, even purely recreational outdoor space. Check out architects’ blog to see all stages of this amazing project.
(via spoon & tamago)
Usually when we think of someone living in a truck, our mind paints a picture of extreme disenfranchisement. Not here. This compact residence, built inside the standard UNICAT truck, includes all essentials of a comfortable dwelling – bedroom, bathroom, office, lounge and more – perfect for the adventurous freelancer or man on the run. Of couse, living in such a confined space calls for a good organizing plan, so the space is fitted with generous storage. Check out the space-saving ideas this incredible mobile home offers – more photos after the break.
Leaf House is an ingenius little dwelling, built by small housing enthusiast Laird Herbert from Whitehorse, Canada. His inspiration came from buildings of Hornby Island, on the west coast of British Columbia.
“One of the most magical of these buildings is the Leaf House, – Laird says, - It is a whimsical and airy cabin, seemingly balanced precariously on one driftwood beam. In my mind, the leaf house epitomizes the creativity of the owner-built home. It is what happens when we look at building beyond the conventional norms – beyond stick framing and vinyl siding; beyond the real estate market; beyond housing simply as a means to make a buck. I only just got to see the leaf house (the location is not well known) a couple of years ago and it inspired me to start building and designing tiny homes.”
The current model features a living area with sofa bed, raised sleeping quarters, fully functional kitchen, bathroom with a compact bathtub and an open dining area. There are also self-sustaining elements, such as a composting toilet, propane tankless hot water system, propane GE range half fridge, Ecoheat electric baseboards, LED and halogen lighting and a 35-gallon (132-liter) water storage unit. After selling his first two homes were successfully, Laird is planning new versions.