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TOP 20


TOP 20


The tiny house scene has come a long way in recent years and we continue to be impressed at how firms manage to shoehorn more and more house into what’s really a very small space. Below, we’ve selected some of the best tiny houses currently available for purchase in Europe and North America.

While the following shouldn’t be considered an exhaustive list of what’s on the market at the time of writing, it’ll be adequate to give you an idea of some of the more interesting models available. There’s something to suit everyone’s tastes, from high-end luxury models to relatively budgetfriendly options, but we’d always recommend viewing a potential purchase in person if at all possible and doing your own research on the firm’s past work.

Christian Martin

Vipp Shelter The Danish company VIPP (known for its iconic 1939 wastebasket, now in the MOMA) has created a prefab tiny home designed down to the last detail (flashlight included). Their 592-square-foot “plug and play getaway” wasn’t designed to blend into nature, but to float above it; fifty thousand pounds of glass and steel serve as a frame for the surrounding landscape. VIPP designer Morten Bo Jensen explains that the shelter wasn’t designed as a piece of architecture, but an industrial object. The prefab structure is built in a factory and the four modules are transported by truck to the site. The shelter can be constructed in 3 to 5 days using just bolts for the modules and 9,000 screws for the steel plates.



The small prefab can house 4 people: 2 on a daybed and 2 in a loft bedroom. The floor-to-ceiling glass walls slide open and closed with mechanical rollers, designed to move the 400 or 500-kilo doors with ease. “We kind of like this idea that you just grab it and slide it open,” explains Jensen, “instead of motorized solutions that would be more different from our philosophy of very mechanical products that just last for a long time.”

LIVING IN A PRODUCT Vipp has made a plug and play getaway that allows you to escape urban chaos in a 55m2 all-inclusive nature retreat. 75 years of experience with steel processing is used to craft this prefabricated object designed down to last detail. A simple steel grid structurally supports the two level space, where only the bathroom and bed loft is shielded from the main living space. Within the transparent shell, nature is omnipresent yet with a physical blindage that provides shelter. The shelter is a finished product inspired by large volume objects such as planes, ferries and submarines, where every single screw serves a purpose. While we deliver worldwide, the Vipp shelter is sold and distributed exclusively via the Vipp Head Quarters in Copenhagen, Denmark or via our New York showroom. No matter where you are in the world, you and your chosen local constructor will be in direct contact with a dedicated expert from Vipp in Copenhagen throughout the entire process. We have cut out the middle man, so we can offer you premium quality and service for the listed prices. High quality is non-negotiable and so are the listed prices. PRICE € 485,000 / $ 585,000 including interior. Delivery time: 6 months Installation time: 3-5 days

NATURE IS OMNIPRESENT A shelter in its original sense has connotations of basic living serving a merely functional purpose and attending to our primal need of having a roof over our head. The starting point of the Vipp shelter is going back to basics; back to nature in a dense, compact space wrapped in the Vipp DNA. The landscape is purposely framed, turning it into the predominant element of the interior space. Each piece of interior and its dominant dark tones are carefully selected in order to keep focus on nature. The sliding window frames accentuate the sensation of living in nature by blurring the distinction between indoor and outdoor space.

INTERIOR - ALL INCLUSIVE The hooks, the ladder, kitchen, the daybed, the lamps, the shelves, the towels, the toilet brush‌and the list continues. Everything you see is Vipp. And it is all inclusive. The Vipp shelter is delivered fully equipped for a complete design experience and an easy escape. There is no evident link between a pedal bin, a kitchen, and a shelter, but enter the shelter and the philosophy of one, longlasting, functional tool per category is embodied in every item you see.


5 STEPS TO A VIPP SHELTER 1 You provide the piece of land 2 We start a 6 month production process 3 We transport, deliver and install 5 You grab your weekend bag and escape

SPECIFICATIONS The simple steel grid structurally supports the two-level space, where only the bathroom and bed loft is shielded from the main living space comprising a kitchen and relaxing area. Two people can stay comfortably in the shelter bed loft and the daybed on the lower level sleeps an additional guest.

Virgil unbound When his wife inherited a ruined stable in Italy’s Orobic Alps, architect Alfredo Vanotti reinvisioned the space as a family home, reflecting local craftsmanship and his love of modern design. Alfredo Vanotti of EV+A lab atelier has transformed a mountainside ruin into a contemporary dwelling using a palette of locally sourced materials and traditional construction techniques. Located at a height of 1,000 meters in the italian alps, ‘casa VI’ serves as an example of sustainable architecture, employing resources obtained from its surroundings. Furniture is made to order by local carpenters with concrete and iron used throughout the scheme. the


reinforced structure utilizes thermal insulation, ensuring a comfortable internal temperature in every part of the twostorey dwelling. To daylight the home, Vanotti (of EV+A Lab) created a long skylight and four large windows facing the Valtellina Valley below. To create exterior walls that resembled the “dry stone” technique of the the region’s traditional homes, he used local stone and a minimal amount of cement to hold it together. For the interior, Vanotti used reinforced concrete, along with natural larch and iron to give the home a more modern feel. “Concrete is misused,” he explains. “It shouldn’t be perfect. The advantage


of concrete: it shouldn’t be smooth, beautiful, precise.” The fireplace, sink, bidet, shower and toilet are all custom-designed from unfinished concrete. To showcase the material’s imperfections, Vanotti chose to leave the material untreated and uncovered. “Concrete is a refined material. You don’t have to hide it.”

Small budget With just a “small budget”, and relying on help from his father, Vanotti transformed the ruin into a weekend home for his family over the course of five years. He designed the home from the ground up, including the kitchen sink. Everything was designed by the architect, including the concrete sink/bidet/toilet and fireplace. Nearly every detail was personalized, like the door/ cupboard handles made from strips of leather. The building involved in the project is located in the surroundings of Sondrio on the Orobie Alps at about 1000 meters above sea level. The customer requirements were to trasform the existing ruin in a building unit use a residence, which had solar radiation and lighting in the living area and, at the same time, view through the valley.

Knowing those circumstances, after a careful analysis of the context, the possibilities in terms of exposure, from a study of the sunlight during the twelve months and the study of technologies and values of mountain architecture, I realized the project thanks to a reinterpretation of modern construction techniques and materials taken from the past. This is because I believe that mountain architecture can be considered a prime example of sustainable architecture.


Working with a preexsting ruin and begin unable to choose the best location where to build, I worked on sunshine and light, opting for a roof with a unique layer, so that towards the south, through the skylight and openings, we could have sunlight all the year. This choice allowed me to realize large openings, either in the living area as in the sleeping area. The new housing unit consists of a ground floor entrance, a living room,a kitchen and a bathroom, with the south zone as a double height. Upstairs we have two bedrooms and a loft used as office.

From the point of view of materials and their combination I chose local stone, for external walls, and larch windows and doors. Inside, instead, I opted for the use of reinforced concrete, natural larch and iron. I wanted to give great importance to the local craftmanship, trying to create quite all the pieces from my personal design. In fact we have for example homemade fireplace, table, chairs, stairs, bidet, sink and wc. Architects EV+A Lab Atelier d’architettura Location Sondrio, Province of Sondrio, Italy Architect in Charge Alfredo Vanotti Area 75.0 sqm

Montmartre’s Rue Foyatier 3 When tasked with adding space, functionality and light to a small-ish apartment on Montmartre- the tallest hill in Paris-, architect Alex Delaunay embraced the neighborhood’s stair culture (the local Metro has a 112-step spiral staircase, Montmartre’s Rue Foyatier has 300 steps) and created a multifunctional staircase wall to celebrate the “local climbing culture”. After opening up the apartment by removing all the non-structural partitions, Delaunay (of SABO projects) took advantage of the apartments’ longest space to create a multiuse structure housing a small office, closet and geometrical storage stairs leading up to the former-attic-turned bedroom.


The furniture wall also has a window to allow daylight to pass from one side of the building to the other. The rounded stairs are sculpted from MDF (medium-density fibreboard) for a highly sculptural and affordable construction. Located on the top floor of a sevenstory walk-up, the apartment’s walls were cluttered with chimney flues from the apartments below (common in Haussmann-era buildings). Delaunay opened up the walls between the flues to add storage space. In the kitchen the architect opened up more space between flues for cabinets. In contrast with the all-white walls and

brushed stainless steel countertops the floors reflect the owner’s career in fashion (working with color swatches): it’s covered in 25 natural rubber strips in 14 different colors. New York-based studio SABO Project was asked to reconfigure the 72-square-metre apartment in order to maximise space. It is located on the top floor of a 19thcentury Haussmann-era building, and its walls were previously cluttered with dark nooks around the chimney flues that lead to apartments below. “The apartment is relatively small and needed to be optimised in terms of storage, and those convoluted walls needed to become less chaotic, and more calm,” said SABO Project’s founder Alex Delaunay, who previously studied in Paris and holds a licence to practise in France. Delaunay removed all non-load-bearing walls to open up the space, which has a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom on one side, a combined living and dining room on the other side, and a mezzanine bedroom above for guests. He named the project Hike, as a reference to its setting in the hilly neighbourhood of Montmartre, on the seventh floor of a building without a lift. This meant all joinery and welding had to be done onsite, rather than prefabricated and carried up. “The local Metro has a 112-step spiral staircase connecting it to the street, and you have to climb 111 steps to get to the apartment,” Delaunay told Dezeen. “Living in Montmartre requires a physical commitment that not everybody is willing to make, and getting to this home in particular can sometimes feel like an achievement in itself.”

Stairs up to the mezzanine bedroom were also built into the multifunctional wall, and were designed to reflect what Delaunay calls “the climbing culture of Montmartre”, with a stack of irregularshaped steps that jut out to form alternating treads. “This type of stair is a great space saver, and we wanted it to have an unusual presence,” he said. “It seems challenging to climb, but it is actually very comfortable.”


Storage was built into the nooks around the edges of the apartment, and a multifunctional wall was added in the living and dining room, beneath the mezzanine. It incorporates storage for clothes and fabric, open display boxes, a recessed strip of lighting, and a desk, which is concealed behind white folding panels. Multifunctional walls and space-saving stairs are often used to create more room in small apartments. Other examples include a New York loft – also by SABO Project – with a stack of storage boxes that double stairs to a mezzanine, a two-storey Milan apartment with a compact folded metal staircase, and a Madrid apartment with tables, benches and an ironing board that fold down from the walls. SABO Project also added translucent glass panels at one end of the Hike apartment’s mezzanine bedroom to enclose a void above the bathroom, which is on the lower level, and has a rooflight above it. “Previously this corner was enclosed by partitions that blocked the flow of light,” said Delaunay. “Now, the new translucent partitions act like a giant light diffuser, and at night this corner has a warm glow from artificial lights.” In the kitchen, strips of rubber flooring were used to enliven the space with a striped pattern of 14 colours. “The owner deals with colour swatches on a daily basis, and was immediately onboard with the idea,” said Delaunay, who looked at 38 different colour combinations before choosing the final design. A 4.5-metre-long brushed steel worktop was added to the kitchen to create an industrial-style contrast with the flooring,

and the material was also added to the underside of the ceiling cabinets. On the opposite side of the kitchen, a vertical herb garden was installed, featuring 26 ceramic pots mounted on a custommade panel. The plants receive natural light from an adjacent window, and artificial light from a fluorescent strip recessed in the cabinet above. Each pot has a back reservoir for water, and the pots can be easily removed to refill these reservoirs. The pots can also be rotated so that the plants grow evenly in all directions. Construction for the refurbishment was completed in two phases – one for the living room and mezzanine, and one for the kitchen and bedroom, which each took one and a half months.

Beartown Road Maricela Salas and Mary McGoff admit they were “naive” about buying raw land before making their purchase of a hillside lot in the Berkshires. It turned out to be too steep and rocky for a traditional foundation. To avoid “blasting” and ruining their beloved refuge, their contractor Arthur Jackson (The Small Building Company) created piers to perch their cabin like a “treehouse” above the rocky ledge. To select the ideal siting and orientation for their bucolic home Salas and McGoff camped on the land for a few years in an Airstream trailer. “It also made us realize the Airstream was a 23-foot beautiful thing that we love and miss dearly,” explains Salas. “We realized we don’t need a big house, or anything grand and just simple.


I’m talking tiny, tiny house first and then realized it doesn’t make sense to build an expensive tiny, tiny house when you can just wait and build this.” They expanded their dream to an 850-square-foot “modern cabin” (they don’t consider it a “house”), but they retained the open feel of the Airstream. Designed by New York architect RD Gentzler, the space which is technically all


one room (though there are pocket doors to shut off the bathroom and bedroom when necessary) resembles a Manhattan loft. The focus of the cabin is the outdoors and the huge bank of windows along the south side (with a roof canopy to limit summer solar gain) frames their private forest. “It’s just magical,” explains Salas. “I’m from Los Angeles, but my father built a ranch in Mexico when he got near retirement. He’s no longer with us but I don’t know if I channeled him but building this is one of those things where oh, I get it now and now I’m the same way.” Kirsten: “Is it a place to lose yourself?” Salas: “Yes. Lose yourself. Talk about being in the moment.” When our New York City clients go to their weekend home in the Berkshires, they want to feel immersed in nature whether they were out for a hike, or in their house. To create this effect, we sited the house on a rock outcropping so that the windows are level with the middle of the adjacent trees. The cantilevered deck allows you to feel like you are in a tree house. No mater where you are in the house, you can see a tree nearby. Quality was more important than size, so the house is as efficient as possible. The living room has 4 large sliding doors, so it can double as a screened in porch. The entire house is only 900sf but has a loft which functions as a second bedroom. We find that the internal contrasts are the most successful part of the project. While the form is dramatic, the materials where designed to relate to the environment. The vertical strips of the windows, with

their dark gray panels between them, relate to the color and orientation of the trees which surround the house. That said, the form itself sets the house apart from the land. Like knots in a tree, compelling designs sometimes form around an impediment. When Maricela Salas and Mary McGoff purchased a piece of land in the Berkshires, they had no idea that a rocky ledge would complicate construction of the simple house they’d imagined. But it also gave them exactly what they were after: a retreat that immerses them in the natural world.

Having camped in the region for years, the couple wanted their new house to approximate the connection with the land they’d felt sleeping in their tent. They’ve happily shared a onebedroom apartment in Manhattan for 15 years, so they were more than willing to forgo a sprawling footprint. After an informal competition among colleagues and friends (Salas is the business director at Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects), the couple chose R D Gentzler, principal at New York’s Framework Architecture, to design their dream. In the end, Gentzler created something uncannily like a downtown loft transplanted onto a wooded lot in Monterey,


Massachusetts, just 10 minutes by foot from the Appalachian Trail. “Our experience designing urban apartments prepared us for the efficiency that this project required,” says Gentzler of the 850-square-foot cabin. “The small footprint also helped us create the intense relationship with nature that the clients wanted.”

That inside-outside connection is reinforced by double-height glazing in the living room, financed by savings resulting from the project’s small scale. Other decisions kept costs down while bringing the home closer to the natural world: The exterior is visibly knotted pine, and the building frame is engineered wood, not steel. Nature did have one expensive—but enchanting—surprise in store. On the long and sloping lot, the best siting for the house turned out to be a rocky ledge.

Cubist Chiba With most of their micro-studios unrented, a family in Chiba, Japan was ready to demolish their 8-unit apartment building, but architect Kazuyasu Kochi convinced them to rework it into a modern singlefamily home. In a country where the lifespan of the mostly wooden homes are only a few decades, Kochi’s rehab proposal was innovate, though his design proved to be one-of-a-kind. Inspired by the Cubist representation of 3 dimensional forms in 2 dimensions, Kochi set out to create a 3-D reality that felt 2-D. He began by cutting a hole in the middle of the building to connect the 8 tiny rooms. To keep the project affordable, he



used large pieces of plywood to shape the new rooms, dividing and connecting the space. “The act of dividing coexists with the act of uniting here. The result will be dynamic and complex internal space, which provides the experience of being all the spaces without losing the sense of retreating into the one.”

Cutting 2D shapes (triangles and quadrangles) out from the former 3D apartment grid. By ensuring that the 2D shapes didn’t follow the grid, he juxtaposed two different types of depth. With his vivid 4-color scheme, the reassembled home feels like a Cubist patchwork of optical illusions. From the architect. This is a renovation project of single-family house, originally used as a typical two-story apartmenthouse with eight small rental units in the suburban area of Tokyo, Japan. More than half of the units of this old wooden apartment were empty, therefore the owner wanted to demolish it and then build a new single-family house (parents and two girls) at the beginning. I proposed to renovate this existing building into a single-family house instead of demolishing it, because with their budget I thought the clients could only gain the half area of the existing building if they built a new one, which does not benefit them. Depopulation in Japan started 10 years ago. The number of householders decreased, too. I would say theoretically people can have more space in their residences. The time of Japanese people living in tiny houses has changed. There is a shift from dividing limited space for many people into uniting existing divided space for fewer people, I think. However, clients generally still tend to divide a house into many rooms. I picture the image of a new house, which is wellbalanced between dividing and uniting space inside.

The act of dividing coexists with the act of uniting here. The result will be dynamic and complex internal space, which provides the experience of being all the spaces without losing the sense of retreating into the one. In this project called ‘Apartment-House’, my ambition is to create high density and richness of diverse sceneries in this small architecture. I started with cutting a hole inside the apartment to connect eight rooms. The existing building has rigid 3D grid, consisting of the walls and floors, which systematically divide the internal space into eight. I cut 2D shapes (triangle or quadrangle, not pentagon) out from this grid system. As a rule, I decided these 2D shapes should not follow the 3D grid. For example, one triangle shape was cut out crossing the grid between the first floor and the second, and placed beyond the X and Y coordinate plane. Each of the eight rooms is on the 3D grid, but 2D shapes are not. I used different vivid colors as “Four color theorem” for each 2D shape, which is not following the grid, to emphasize the presence. As we stand inside, we can find two different types of depth ( =perspective view) in the same space. The result of this process showed some different depth of space, which reminded me of a picture of Cubism, which has distortion of perspective between 2D and 3D. We can see scenery, in which triangles and quadrangles gathered, overlapped and intersecting each other, creating diversity of spaces into one place. Architecture cannot escape from 3D grid system, and paintings also cannot escape from 2D on the other hand. In the history of art, cubist found an emerging depth of space in their 2D paintings. Similarly, may architecture discover its emerging depth in the 3D space?



Kochi Architect's Studio


Chiba, Chiba Prefecture, Japan

Architect in Charge Kazuyasu Kochi Area 177.0 sqm Project Year


Barcelona’s outside tiny studio 6 Tasked with building a tiny studio in the hills outside Barcelona, architect Pablo Serrano Elorduy created an all-wooden shelter stunning in its simplicity, efficient thanks to smart design. The orientation takes advantage of Spanish sun for heating: large windows open the South side to winter sun; protective shading blocks direct summer sun. Serrano cut small windows into the North side (even though the steep hillside blocks any views) so that temperature and pressure differences produce natural cross ventilation and cooling during summer months.


Prefab construction assured minimal waste of building materials and more importantly, provided a continuous layer of insulation (natural biodegradable wood fiber with an extra breathable layer to minimize internal condensation). By eliminating thermal bridges, the home is up to 80% more efficient in climate control than a conventional build.

The building’s timber was sourced from the Catalan Pyrenees (just 2 hours away) from PEFC- certified forests. The exterior is finished in autoclaved-treated fir wood, the interior finishes are 3-layered plywood and pine, with the nonvisible stuff (e.g. backs of cabinets) a more affordable OSB.

The studio is just 76 square meters (818 square feet), but the open plan makes the space feel large. Currently it’s being used as an office for two, but, complete with wooden bathroom and shower (lacking only a kitchen), it was built to be easily transformed into a small home. Water is captured from the roof and surrounding pavement and stored in 7 water tanks (holding up to 10 cubic meters of water) which is used for watering the very large, organic kitchen garden lower on the hill.


Carmel Place Single people now make up a third of New York City’s households and with the average rent for a studio at $2,600, the city responded in 2012 by announcing a competition to design units smaller than the minimum size of 400 square feet. Mimi Hoang and Eric Bunge of nArchitects won with their ‘My Micro NY’ proposal (now called Carmel Place). With 55 units ranging from 260 to 360 square feet, Carmel Place is the city’s first modular micro-apartment building. Hoang explains the building had to be prefabbed in order to squeeze as many units as possible on the small site. “Even though we’re shrinking the square footage of the apartment, we still had to



comply with a lot of regulations, regulations about minimize size- minimize size of the kitchen, the counter length, of living space dimension- so the tolerances that we were working with were within an eighth of an inch which is really not possible with traditional construction so basically all the fine-tuning was done in the factory to get it really, really exact.” Due to codes, the bathroom and kitchen

size was predetermined so the architects worked with transforming furniture to make the livingroom/ bedroom multifunctional. To create a bigger, and lighter, feeling inside the apartments, the architects designed high ceilings (9 foot 8 inches), large windows and Juliet balconies (or “balconet”: a full-length sliding glass door, but no exterior access). “We want you to feel like you’re part of the street, part of a larger story. That your home is not just part of the space inside the four walls,” explains Hoang. ”Your home also includes the salon on the roof, the gym, the cafe that will open up on the ground floor, so it’s the idea of a dispersed house. What’s inside your apartment is very small and very compact, but

elsewhere in the building you will find everything that you normally find in a home, it’s just dispersed and it’s shared.” When you move to a major city, you usually expect that you’ll live in an expensive, shoeboxsized apartment. A new set of apartments in Manhattan are even smaller than your average studio — but

much better designed. The idea is that the minimalist, chic design makes ultra-tiny living possible. Carmel Place houses Manhattan’s first micro-apartments, all ranging from 260 to 360 square feet. For comparison, the average Manhattan studio is twice that size, and a standard onecar garage is about 200 square feet. To make the limited square footage more livable, Monadnock Development enlisted the help of the lifestyle design company Ollie and Screech Owl designer Jacqueline Schmidt.


They meticulously designed 17 of the 55 units with space-saving furniture and accessories. Unlike most tiny apartments in Manhattan, they’re designed from the ground-up for minimalist living, Schmidt tells Tech Insider. To see for myself, I spent a night in one of Carmel Place’s 308-square-foot furnished

apartments. Here’s what it was like. Carmel Place is located in Kip’s Bay, a neighborhood on the lower east end of Manhattan near the East River. The nine-story building features 55 units, and the first 36 tenants moved in June 1, Ollie co-founder Andrew Bledsoe tells Tech Insider.

Brick House



Architect Christi Azevedo transformed a tiny boiler room in her San Francisco backyard into a compact home crafted like custom furniture. Trained in metalworking and furniture building, everything is tailored to create a home that feels much larger than its 88 square feet (8 feet wide by 11 feet deep).

closet and wetbath. To reach the lofted bed(room) she put in a glass floor to avoid blocking off light from the skylight to the floor below.

A year and a half in the making, Azevedo rebuilt the rundown space often using reclaimed metal and wood and scrap material from other jobs. Always conscious of every inch, she created a minimalist ship’s ladder to a tiny mezzanine with a

Originally a laundry boiler room, the brick house is now a full service guest apartment. The ground floor is 8′-2″ x 11′-6″; approximately 93sf. It hosts a full kitchen, living room with couch and coffee table or dining table, and fold out cushions

The result is a mixed materials interior that feels highly crafted and what Azevedo likens to “a little piece of furniture”.

for a lounge chair on the stair landing. Up the ships’ ladder is a mezzanine dressing area with built-in walnut wardrobe and drawers. a 42″ square bath has a wall mount toilet, custom stainless steel medicine cabinet, small sink supplied by a shower valve, and floor drain for showering. a sandblasted door and window keep it light and spacious. A tread and a glass landing lead to the bed loft with queen mattress, storage in hinged headboards, bookshelves, and reading lamps. From the architect. Originally a laundry boiler room, the brick house is now a full service guest apartment. The ground floor is 8'-2" x 11'-6"; approximately 93sf. It hosts a full kitchen, living room with couch and coffee table or dining table, and fold out cushions for a lounge chair on the stair landing. Up the ships' ladder is a mezzanine dressing area with built-in walnut wardrobe and drawers. a 42" square bath has a wall mount toilet, custom stainless steel medicine cabinet, small sink supplied by a shower valve, and floor drain for showering. a sandblasted door and window keep it light and spacious. A tread and a glass landing lead to the bed loft with queen mattress, storage in hinged headboards, bookshelves, and reading lamps. San Francisco studio Azevedo Design has squeezed a small guesthouse featuring a glass mezzanine floor into the old red-brick boiler house of a converted laundry. Brick House in San Francisco

by Azevedo DesignAzevedo Design has managed to cram a living room, kitchen and an en-suite bedroom inside the 1916-built boiler room that adjoins a timber-framed laundry building in San Francisco – despite it having a footprint of just 2.5 by 3.5 metres. House W by Studio PrototypeHouse W extension by Studio Prototype contrasts stripy cedar with original brickworkBoth buildings form part of a private residence. The larger building had recently been converted into a wood and metal workshop, while the smaller block, known

as Brick House, was renovated as a guesthouse. Brick House in San Francisco by Azevedo DesignThe original red brickwork was left exposed on the exterior and interior walls, while original wooden roof beams were used to support a new loft-level bedroom. Brick House in San Francisco by Azevedo DesignStudio founder Christi Azevedo added the glass mezzanine between the ground-floor living space and upper-level bedroom – a move she said was "imperative with the small size of building"."It really takes advantage of volume as opposed


to just square-footage," she told Dezeen. "It gives the kitchen a sense of its own space and is a buffering level en route to the bed loft." Brick House in San Francisco by Azevedo DesignThe kitchen features a custom-built dining table and cabinets made from sanded acrylic, as well as a stainless-steel worktop that slots onto the lower rungs of a ladder-like metal staircase. Brick House in San Francisco by Azevedo DesignA sofa with a steel frame and wrinkled waxed-canvas coverings stands at the foot of the stairs.

Garden House On a site 3.3 meters wide and 10 meters deep, architect Takeshi Hosaka planned a dream home for himself and his wife Megumi. Leaving the ceiling open to the sky, the main space of the home “is not inside and is not outside”. A large tree casts shadows of the sun and moonlight on the wall, birds and rain enter the space and grasshoppers lay eggs here. Takeshi and Megumi spend most of their time in the open air- only closing the sliding glass walls only during winter. Without the glass, there’s no wall to separate the couple from the elements and a sheer drop to the first floor.



Space in the 38-square-meter home is hyper-maximized: the kitchen is wide enough for a counter and a person; the bedroom fits only a futon which folds up during the day; and the bathroom door hits the toilet and doesn’t close all the way.

All this is irrelevant when most of life takes place in a space without walls or ceiling. This is a house consisting of inside and outside spaces. The clients are a married couple. Their request: “We want a house in which we feel as if we are outdoors.”Although the indoor and outdoor are different environments, You can sleep on the comfortable bed outdoors for a short sleep. When thinking like this, I feel that a living in which you can do various things inside and outside is possible.I aimed to design a house in which its dwellers feel at ease as if the whole house looks like a garden. I thought that I'll try to design a house where the scenes of living expand to both inside and outside. Located in Yokohama, the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan, the 1,222 square-foot two story residence sits on a 1,051 square foot tiny triangle lot in a dense neighborhood. “This is a house consisting of inside and outside spaces. The clients are a married couple. Their request: “We want a house in which we feel as if we are outdoors.” While there is no clear boundary

between the indoor and outdoor in terms of the construction of a house, it offers uninterrupted experiences and similar dimensions, structures, finishes, and furniture density. Although the indoor and outdoor are different environments, all the more reason it is fun if there are both the indoor dining and outside dining. You can sleep on the comfortable bed outdoors for a short sleep. Sometimes you can feel that the inside space is extended from the outdoors or is a space like outside. Sometimes you can feel that the outside space is extended from the inside. I aimed to design a house in which its dwellers feel at ease as if the whole house looks like a garden. I thought that I’ll try to design a house where the scenes of living expand to both inside and outside.” Japanese architecture rarely fails to impress us with its interesting approach on shaping our homes. Led by a strong environmental sensibility, Japanese architecture believes that it must play an important role in creating a place to enhance human and nature interaction. Such an example of architectural flair and design innovation for homes is the private residential project of the Garden House by Takeshi Hosaka architects.

Located in Yokohama, the capital of the Kanagawa jurisdiction in Japan, the Garden House looks like it has been dropped from the metropolitan area of Tokyo. This 1,222 square-foot private domicile is situated in a 1,051 square-foot small triangle block within a close-knit neighborhood. From the tip of its roof to the ground, the Garden House is fully clad in green reflecting a sense of

peacefulness. ‘We aimed to design a house in which its dwellers feel at ease as if the whole house looks like a garden’, respond the Takeshi Hosaka architects for the finished project. The entire house is arranged by merging the indoors with the outdoors and integrating an enclosed two-story courtyard between


them. Thus, the dwellers are given a garden within their house and a sequence of fascinating viewpoints and breezes. Due to the vague distinction between the interior and the exterior, the Garden House offers also an uninterrupted experience as well as furniture compactness. In response to its green and glass overlooking inside the house, it puts all the principal rooms in a triangular plot. A hallway is framing the central outdoor and through window openings one can observe its long and lean rooms. Floor-to-floor ceiling glass is tuning the degree of light or night and Japanese sliding doors offer a continuous dialogue between the inside and the outside. Apt addition to its terrace, the lid which is made from acrylics is giving a quick sight on the courtyard. While the dwellers enjoy its triangular spaces and witty angles, its structure enables them to take advantage of both indoor and outside dining, sleeping on the

Name of the project: Garden House comfortable bed outdoors for a short sleep except in their bedroom. On a further conclusion, Takeshi Hosaka architects’ Garden House highlights the way that the suburban home design has been taken to the next level.

Location: Kanagawa, JAPAN Building area: 52.12 sq Deferred floor space: 113.51 sq Structure: Wooden structure + RC

Madrid accordion home 10 Yolanda Pila wanted to convert her grandparent’s forties-style tiny home on the outskirts of Madrid into something that would fit her more modern lifestyle, as well as an in-home design studio. At her invitation, PKMN architects redesigned the 50-square-meter (538 square feet) home using sliding shelving units to create rooms that expand and disappear depending on the time of day. The movable modules are common in warehouses


and commercial spaces (they are suspended from the ceiling on rails), but here the architects appropriated them as flexible walls for the different rooms in Yolanda’s home. One module houses the kitchen on one side (2 fold-down tables and storage for kitchenware, cleaning items, etc). Move the module and the kitchen closes (or simply shrinks) and the other side reveals a blackboard for Pila’s home office (a

design and branding firm). The second module has more office on one side (mostly storage for her materials). Move this wall and the bedroom opens up; complete with a pull down bed, a removable side table and lamp, as well as an ample closet with plenty of drawers). Behind the final wall is the bathroom which can remain narrow during the day (when only needed as a WC) or grow during the morning or evening

for dressing room space or to “shower while watching the news”. The sliding walls are made of OSB (oriented strand board) which was not only an affordable option, but one that fit their design sensibilities. The architects estimate these transforming walls and furniture probably cost 10 or 15% more than a conventional remodel, but that doesn’t include the money you’d invest in conventional furniture and as Yolanda points out, it’s also an investment in lifestyle. “Even if it were cheaper to make a normal house with rooms, there was the risk that I would run. For me this house is an ideal office, and on a personal level, it’s an experience that I enjoy.” Architect Carmelo Rodríguez sees the home as a response to the current challenge of living well with less space. “Space keeps getting more expensive and it uses a lot of energy. We have to look for ways to live smaller, but without losing the benefits of quality spaces. We think this way of opening and closing heads in that direction… it’s a bit like pop-up architecture”. Yolanda moves to the house that formerly belonged to


her grandmother, it is located on a small housing community in the North of Madrid. It is a single storey house, rather small, but it has an enormous garden in the backyard. Yolanda is, among many other things, ERREPILA [Design Studio for enterprising and courageous people]. All I Own House materialises the interior of Yolanda’s house through her personal belongings. But these objects, such as Yolanda, would

never stand still, they move around with her, accompanying her way through the day; early in the morning all the books wake up and place themselves together with all the clothing stuff, bed disappears and, just as Yolanda is having a coffee, books and clothes move fast approaching the kitchen area in order to make room for shower. Around mid-morning Yolanda has an appointment with a client; all the crockery,

carefully tidy, starts to put itself close to the kitchen, nearby all the cutlery and the rest of the cookware. Books are now showing off, very proud. Through a carefully made design, totally custom-made, and the combination of carpentry and the use of quite a simple industrial railing system, all the server space in the house is arranged through three wooden, suspended, mobile and transformable containers.

Lego studio Barcelona When Christian Schallert isn’t cooking, dressing, sleeping or eating, his 24 square meter (258 square feet) apartment is an empty cube. To use a piece of furniture, he has to build it. To sleep, he rolls his bed out from under the balcony, his stairs become become bedside tables and he can even swing his tv out from the wall. To dine, he lowers a plank from the wall, his flower-stand becomes a support and his stairs become a bench. To  cook, he clicks a spot on his vast wall of click-able furniture, and a springloaded door swings up to reveal an instant



kitchen: double-burner, dishwasher, sink, countertop and microwave oven. The fullsized refrigerator and freezer click open just alongside.

Located in Barcelona’s hip Born district, the tiny apartment is a remodeled pigeon loft. It was designed by architect Barbara Appolloni and Christian (a Barcelonabased photographer) says its design was inspired by the space-saving furniture aboard boats, as well as the clean lines of a small Japanese home. While there’s undoubtedly more work involved in constructing and  deconstructing your dining room/kitchen/bedroom every day or meal (one of his friends has dubbed it “G.I. Joe’s flat”), Christian claims it helps keep him in shape. Designed by Spanish architect Barbara Appolloni and located in Barcelona’s hip Born district, this tiny apartment is a former pigeon loft remodeled into a great bachelor pad.The owner (a Barcelona-based photographer) says its design was inspired by the space-saving furniture aboard boats, as well as the clean lines of a small Japanese home. This 22 sqm space, which originally stored the water tanks of a narrow building in the center of Barcelona, has been transformed into a unique and functional attic.The perimeter walls have been strengthened to support a new wrought structure, which allowed to convert the roof into a terrace with a privileged view over the city.

A new staircase connects the cota intermedia of the terrace with IPE wood flooring, also used in the construction of a niche for the washing machine and to line the tub and the large sofa bed. The interior is a versatile and functional space in which the walls and furniture allow for many different layouts and uses.

The only visible elements are the shower, a rectangular laminated glass and the sink.Most walls are covered with VIROC panels -a mixture of wood particles and Portland cement – supported by a hidden wooden structure. Some are also gateways to niche storage spaces or can be used as of furniture, i.e. the tables.The false ceiling, the wall / cabinet on the right and the sofa bed are in pine plywood.


The wall /furniture creates a great variety of storage spaces, which range from the wardrobe, to the kitchen and the bathroom, of which the doors open through different movements. The cabinet that contains the bed is divided into three removable parts, which are housed under a new slab of the balcony built above the original one and which also serve as a bench / sofa, storage space and staircase to access the exterior.�



6 rooms

into 1

When we first met Graham Hill- founder of in 2010, he had just bought two tiny apartments in a century-old tenement building in Soho and had plans to turn them into laboratories/showcases for tiny living.It was all tied into his idea that the skill of this century is editing- or life editing.

He believes that if you edit your stuff, space and even friends you can have more money, health and happiness. “The whole point of the project really is we’ve gone from 1000 square feet average home size in the fifties to 2300, 2500 now, it’s just notworking for us. I think this is a happy way to live.” When we first met him he’d spent most of the year living in tiny spaces“a tiny trailer, a tent, and then a boat [the Plastiki]” so his then 350-squarefeet home (see our video) felt “spacious” and he was convinced others would love compact living as much as he did if small spaces could be designed right.

Hill wanted a tiny space that didn’t sacrifice function, but instead that would expand to provide a wish list including dinner parties for 12, accommodations for 2 overnight guests, a home office and a home theater with digital projector. The average home size in the U.S. doubled in the past century but happiness levels stayed flat. Serial entrepreneur Graham Hill argues that we should take note of this and cut, cut, cut. He calls his mantra LifeEdited and he believes we’ll actually be happier if we cut the size of our homes, cars, collection of stuff and even our number of friends.


“We really have a culture of excess, we have excess we’re not any happier and what you’ll see again and again are people who really cut back and really edit their lives and that’s why it’s called life edited will find themselves much happier. They have more mental clarity. they end up having more time and it’s often better financially.” To take the conversation public, he’s bought a tiny apartment in New York’s Soho and he’s preparing to crowdsource its redesign. Right now, it’s a bit of a messnot to mention there’s no shower (the previous tenant took sponge baths or used a community shower)-, but Graham, who holds a degree in architecture, believes that with the right design less square footage can truly be more. “We don’t want it to feel like it’s about sacrifice. Part of the brief is a sit-down dinner for 16 so we want to have some elements of luxury. It’s like you’re just designing a massive piece of furniture it’s so detailed and you cut down all of your stuff and really thought about what you need and that will be amazing place to live.” In this video, Hill shows us the “before” of his 420-square-foot mini apartment and talks about his vision for a wall-less “jewel box” where smart multifunctional furniture can transform the space depending on need.

Not wanting to limit himself to local architects, he crowdsourced the design as a competition and received 300 entries from all over the world. Two Romanian architecture students (Catalin Sandu and Adrian Iancu) won with their design “One Size Fits All”. (See the apartment pre-remodel in our video Crowdsourcing tiny home design: a 420-square-foot Soho pad).



apartment In 2005, third-grade-teacher Eric Schneider bought as big as an apartment as he could afford in Manhattan. He paid $235,000 for a 450-squarefoot studio with a tiny kitchen.


“It was basically an open rectangular space,” remembers Schneider. “There wasn’t much to it, there was just a couple of old closets, an old corner kitchen and that was it”.

Extreme density in a tiny home Then he let architects Michael Chen and Kari Anderson of Normal Projects design

a way to pack more density into his small space. “Initially we were looking at different ways we could subdivide the spaces into smaller spaces,” explains Chen, “but pretty quickly it became clear that there wasn’t really enough room to get like a real bedroom in here and if you did then there wasn’t really room to have a real living room area and Eric is a pretty

serious cook and so a tiny little kitchen wouldn’t really work for him.”

4 rooms cabinet




In order to fit more apartment in a small footprint, they created an object that’s bigger than furniture, but smaller than architecture and that morphs with the changing activities of a day.

It’s a large, blue, oversized cabinet that houses all of the walls/bed/tables/shelving/closets needed for at least 4 full-sized rooms. To create a bedroom, the cabinet door swings out to create a wall dividing the living room from the sleeping area, then the Murphy bed folds down revealing a built-in nightstand complete with lighting.

Japanese sense of space By continuing to unfold, or fold differently, Schneider can create not just the bedroom with accompanying closets, but an office plus library, a guest bedroom, and a living room. Or close it up entirely and simply flip down the small bar and the room becomes entertaining space for a dozen.


The Normal Projects architects called their creation the Unfolding Apartment, though given Schneider’s affinity for the Japanese sense of space (he spent his first year postcollege living and teaching in Japan), it could as easily be called the Origami Apartment.

Magical, morphing, mystery cabinet The morphing cabinet had to be custom built and while it packs in a lot- even kitchen storage and lighting for the room- Chen warns it’s not about hiding stuff, but about strategically creating division and overlap. “It’s partly partitioning the space, it’s partly making its interior available and its partly also creating lots of different areas of overlap where you get like a living area and a bed area and a dining area and a lounge area and they’re not necessarily separate but they’re sort of leaking into one another in a way.”

In total, Schneider spent $70,000 total remodeling his new apartment and this includes not just the cabinet, but the bathroom renovation, all cabinetry, kitchen appliances, furniture and dishes, etc.

Casa Transportable Architect Camino Alonso wanted to create a small, portable, prefab home, but she didn’t want it to feel like a shipping container. Camino, along with her husband and siblings (also architects at their firm Ábaton), created ÁPH80, a tiny home that ships like furniture, but has the style and usability of a smartphone.

Their Casa Transportable (“Transportable House”) is manufactured in 6 weeks in a CNC factory in Northern Spain. Their largest model (9 by 3 meters) is still small enough to fit on the back of a truck.


The height of 3.5 meters allows for a gabled roof to give it the feel of a real house, but it’s just low enough to fit under bridges and tunnels while on the road.

14 other construction projects, but cement or a nice rock work as foundation as well. Ábaton provides instructions and sketches so any crane operator can put the home in place. The home arrive fully plumbed and wired. Their prototype home is the “apartment” with kitchen/ living room, bathroom (with full shower) and bedroom (bed included), but they offer other models for those looking interested in simply placing an extra bedroom in their backyard (they offer several combinations e.g. a bedroom/bathroom, 2 bedrooms, livingroom/kitchen, bedroom/living room; furniture by Batavia). Once the house arrives at the site, like a shipping container, it is craned into place in as little as 20 minutes. When Ábaton installed their prototype house on an empty plot in a residential neighborhood on the outskirts of Madrid, they had dug a few small holes in preparation for the “foundation footings”: in this case, recycled wood blocks leftover from

CNC-milled grey cement-board panels lock together to provide not only a sleek exterior, but a ventilated facade. This layered exterior along with 10 centimeters of insulation means the home is thermally efficient – useful for off-grid purposes, but it also means that even without AC on a very hot day in Madrid, the inside of the space stayed cool (we also filmed a video with the Alonso’s at the abandoned stable they

turned into a country home). Un trazo casi infantil da vida al nuevo proyecto de ÁBATON. Al verla terminada en toda su dimensión, tan robusta y desde la perspectiva humana, la imaginación vuela hacia el sueño de la vida sencilla, en sintonía con la naturaleza, al abrigo de una estructura sólida que nos protege y nos mima, llena de aquellos juguetes de madera. La ÁPH80 nace de la observación objetiva de una realidad nueva que no es ajena y que respira naturalidad, equilibrio y paz. Da rienda suelta a la diversión con los demás agrandando el mundo que nos rodea y mejorando las expectativas inmediatas. Todo en la ÁPH80 ha sido pensado y estudiado de antemano para que la experiencia sea única; las proporciones responden al empeño de transmitir plenitud en el interior a pesar de sus dimensiones.

La ÁPH80 es básicamente autosuficiente, transportable por carretera y económicamente competitiva. Tiempo de fabricación: de 6-8 semanas. Montaje: 1 día. Transportable por carretera. Precio: desde 21.900€

CONEXIONES La APH80 se entrega de una pieza. El agua, la electricidad y la fontanería se pueden conectar in situ en un breve espacio de tiempo. Lo óptimo es que las acometidas estén ejecutadas antes de la entrega. En caso de no existir suministros en el terreno, ÁBATON ofrece soluciones autosuficientes.

INSTALACIÓN LA APH80 se puede instalar casi en cualquier sitio, siempre que haya espacio suficiente para un camion y una grua. Sólo son necesarios 8 apoyo9s de cemento -que soportan 1.000kgs cada uno- para colocar la casa sobre ellos. La grúa deberá soportar un mínimo de 8 toneladas.




El uso de cimientos de hormigón depende de la estructura del terreno. Si la firmeza del terreno es el apropiado (hormigón, asfalto, roca, terreno natural) no hay necesidad de construir cimientos. En los casos en que el terreno no tiene la solidez necesaria, se procederá al estudio geotécnico para definir el tipo de cimientos necesarios.

El plazo de entrega es de 8 semanas desde que se formaliza el pedido.

QUÉ INCLUYE EL PRECIO: OPCIONALES: -Depósito de agua -Fosa Séptica -Modelo de ÁPH con Paneles Solares TRANSPORTE La ÁPH se transporta por carretera sobre un camion estándar. Se descarga del camion y se instala con una grúa que debe soportar un mínimo de 8 toneladas. Los costes de transporte dependen de la distancia. A ello, hay que añadir el coste del a grúa por horas. Costes orientativos: A Madrid: 950€ A Galicia: 1.830€ A Ibiza: 4.540 A Londres: 3.570€ A Bélgica: 3.490€ A New York: 7.600€

MODOS DE USO / UTILIZACIÓN Las posibilidades de uso de la ÁPH80 son casi infinitas. Desde una casa de invitados, area de descanso, gimnasio, casa para la piscine, oficina, cuarto de juegos, taller, hasta una casa de fin de semana o casa en la playa. ALTURA INTERIOR En el punto más alto, la altura interior es de 2,50m; en el punto más bajo es de 2,0m

Switch To avoid paying Tokyo rents for office space, architect Yuko Shibata created moving walls that allow her to switch between home and office. At the equivalent cost of 3 months of office rental, or about $7000, Shibata created a morphing home/office she calls “Switch”. Inspired by fusuma, the sliding paper screens used to divide rooms in traditional Japanese homes, Shibata created sliding bookshelves to divide and transform the rooms. One partition wall, weighing 750 kilograms (1450 pounds), moves easily on rollers switching the main space from dining room into a meeting room plus separate library.


15 To open up her study and bedroom, she cut a hole in the wall and installed another mobile bookshelf wall that pivots out to create a two-room workspace/library plus a partitioned bedroom. By leaving the structural walls and plumbing intact, the project was very affordable while extending the functional space. This is the interior design of a single home office. This room was previously used as a residential space. It was the owner’ s intent that the floor plan could be changed to completely separate the living and office sections.

This request was rendered impossible, due to the original structure being of box frame type reinforced concrete construction, with almost all walls acting as supporting building frames. The addition of two bookshelves, each with a large door, allowed us to create a space with the ability to adapt from home to office or from office to home, while leaving the original floor plan intact. The first bookshelf was added to the meeting room. By moving the large door, the meeting space can be divided in two. The space on the side of the

bookshelf becomes a library. The large door also includes an opening in order to allow it to pass over the dining table. The table is shared between the library and meeting spaces. The second addition was in the bed room. The opening in the bookshelf creates a passage making it possible to approach the shelf from the office, without passing through the bedroom. When the door is opened, it creates a partition between the the bedroom and study, and also has the effect of changing the space to a library.


Location: Tokyo, Japan Principal Use: home and office Category: Renovation As more people telecommute and work from home, some may find it difficult to separate their work space from their living space. Some may install their office space in the basement, the bedroom or in a shed out back, but this may not be possible for people living in smaller city apartments. To be enable her to work and live in the same Tokyo apartment, and to avoid paying high office rents, Japanese architect Yuko Shibata added a series of moving walls in her home to allow her to create extra client meeting spaces and libraries. As Shibata explains, this "Switch" design came about as a way to get around the inflexibility if the building's existing, boxlike reinforced concrete structure, where walls are structural elements and therefore cannot be taken down. Inspired by fusuma, which are traditional Japanese sliding partitions that can open up or divvy up a room, the concept is

to sub-divide the existing space down whenever it's needed, changing the static into something fresh and flexible. Shibata's design adds a rolling wall that can either hide or reveal a custom-built bookshelf behind it, effectively creating a new library and client meeting space space when the wall is moved out. The big table here doubles as a conference and dining table. The other office space has what looks like a built-in bookshelf. But push it back, and it swings out to reveal yet another set of shelves and storage, while also creating a green-coloured reading space, separate from the bedroom. This room was previously used as a residential space. It was the owner’s intent that the floor plan could be changed to completely separate the living and office sections.



On the desert mesa of New Mexico, miles from the nearest town of Taos (pop. 5,700), StarWars-like shelters rise from the earth, half-buried and covered in adobe. Called “Earthships” – brainchild of architect Mike Reynolds in the 1970s- they’re nearly completely self-sufficient homes: no electrical grid, no water lines, no sewer. The Greater World Earthship Community, about 70 passive solar homes built from earth and trash on 633 acres, had a rough start; they were shut down as an illegal subdivision in 1997 and it took them 7 years to come to compliance. Though today, the county fully cooperates with Reynolds and his Earthship Biotecture operation to turn trash (tires, cans, glass bottles) into shelters and has even given them 2 acres to experiment with housing in anyway they like (they also provide their recycling).


Sixteen years ago, Tom Duke had just finished over a decade on the pro volleyball circuit when he bought a bit of land here with his wife and began to build a tiny Earthship the size of a storage shed. When their first son was born they built their dream house on the property, a two bedroom that, like other Earthships, collects rainwater, uses its water four times (the plants in the indoor greenhouse filter the greywater) and even processes its own sewage. In this video, Tom takes us on a tour of his home, his original “Earthship survival pod”, the “nest” ($50,000 studio apartment), the “Simple Survival Earthship” (aimed mainly at the developing world), a custom home designed to feed a family of four (including a tilapia pond in the greenhouse) and the “BMW of Earthships”, the “Global (aimed at the average American where all cans and tires can be covered to look like the typical home; the cost is similar to a conventional build, but once complete the systems should work for you). Earthships are a concept introduced in the 1970s, of using waste tires, glass bottles, and cans to create a structure that would be minimally impacting of the environment; off the grid and making its own water, heat and cooling. Exterior

walls are constructed of earthfilled tires to provide thermal mass cooling and heating and interior walls are constructed of a honeycomb of empty cans and glass bottles. They are artistically beautiful and the houses appear to rise out of the earth as if by natural commandment.

wonder if these are sound investments. Here's what people have told us, both for and against the designs.

I have some concerns with earthships as they are designed today. I live and breathe them here in Taos, NM and I listen to my friends and clients frustrate about how their homes do not function as designed.

Energy efficiency: the buildings utilize solar and/or geothermal heat, cooling and hot water, and provide rain and greywater harvesting.

Then add that there are many earthships with north and west facing entrances, which are dust and ice magnets in Taos... and whole communities of earthships that have been built in such inhospitable places that they cannot be reached during the winter at all... and you get why we


Pros (in theory, only works in some climates, see here for more info, as well as... some of these are not as pro as they seem, which we explain)

Self-sustainability: grow veggies inside, use and reuse water, and minimize impact on the environment. Ease of construction: in principal, anyone can build an earthship. If you can pound dirt, you can do it! (Not many can sustain 2 hours of pounding per tire x 900 tires.)

"Recycling": some of the materials used in an earthship come from used products that would otherwise fill up a landfill. (Con side: While the "recycled" (really reused) tires, glass bottles (2000), and aluminum cans (10,000) used may be “free”… they take time to collect. Hours and hours of it. And the plans and permits, excavation, tools, concrete, wood framing and vigas, roofing, cooling tubes, insulation and thermal wrap, cisterns, interior finishes, glazing for two walls of windows, shades, glass doors, appliances, and the systems… are not free. Nor are they natural. Nor are most recycled. These use virgin material. And LOTS of it. And....

Europe is performaing at 98% of ACTUAL recycling (rather than reuse), so using tires, bottles, and cans in your build would mean those materials were removed from the recycling stream, where they can actually be recycled for new uses.) Natural light: these buildings have it in abundance. Extraordinary organic forms and interesting massing are hallmarks of the design's success. (Problem is... the organic forms are made of concrete in most cases. That's not natural. It's just pretending to be.) Earthship designs are constantly evolving because they are decentralized and many are built each year.This allows for constant evolution.We have many models in our history which all played their part in our on going evolution.We have presented here our favorite models which have very pragmatic reasons for being favorites.

Slip House On an abandoned lot in South London, architect Carl Turner and his minimalist wife Mary Martin created a new type of terrace house that, in contrast to its Victorian neighbors, resembles stacked glass cubes. Occupying most of a small plot in Brixton, Slip House is one of the UK’s most sustainable homes, but it’s not all windmills and solar panels, instead the three “slipped” (cantilevered) box forms create an ultra-modern exterior and a calm, zen-like, open-spaced interior. The cement and steel structure of the home is covered by a semi-opaque glass which opens the home to the street by allowing passersby to see the moving



shadows inside. It’s a new type of upside down house: the bottom floor houses Turner’s architecture office, the middle floor is the living quarters and the top floor with the best views is reserved for living. Martin and Turner are minimalists so to create a kind of sanctuary, they have hidden nearly all of their things behind hand-crafted birch plywood furniture. “We just think that you don’t necessarily want to look at everything all the time. Mary wanted a space that had a monastic kind of feel where she could really relax and chill out without having to look at the washing up in the sink.”

To make their small space appear larger, the architects used a few sleight of hand tricks: Cantilever furniture: “Most of the furniture hovers, it’s all cantilevered from the walls so you get the space flowing underneath. So it’s a trick. The furniture takes up the same amount of space, and yet it kind of feels like the room’s bigger than it really is.” Floor-to-ceiling doors: “doors are all full height so the floors and the ceilings flow from one space to another.” Continuous flooring: “Things like not changing the floor materials between rooms so you get the sense of this constant surface flowing through the building.” Few materials: “Not using too many materials so somehow the materials, because we haven’t used like 5 different kinds of materials it makes the space feel bigger.” Achieving a Level 5 for sustainable homes- the highest rating in the UK-, Slip House relies on “‘energy piles’ which use a solar assisted ground source heat pump integrated into the pile foundations”, a wildflower green roof, rain water harvesting, permeable driveway, photovoltaics, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery and underfloor heating. Arguably what makes Slip House sustainable isn’t in its materials, but in its flexibility to change with the needs of its tenants. It can morph from single family home to apartment plus office to a home plus in-law unit. Currently, Martin and Turner are “living over the shop”, but it’s a setup that they hope could be a model for affordable housing.“This flexible type of home can allow for the artisan or home-worker to sub-let or downsize. This can enliven local communities and produce ‘homes’ which create opportunities rather than be dormitories or financial assets.” The three boxes include spaces for living, sleeping and working with a spacious studio space on the ground floor. The house is extremely energy efficient and designed to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5, with a range of special features including PVTs (solar thermal panels); a wildflower roof; rainwater harvesting for gardening, washing clothes and WCs.


Slip House has been recognised for its design and sustainability credentials through a number of high profile awards including the prestigious Manser Medal and the RIBA National Award for best house in the UK.

Woody15 There are 500,000 cabins in Norway for 5 million people, explains architect Marianne Borge. While the size of these second homes has grown in recent decades, Borge wanted to return to the simple living roots of traditional Norwegian hytter (cottages). According to Borge, the cabin tradition is about forgoing the comforts of modern homes to escape into nature: no electricity, a wood-burning stove for cooking and heating and an outhouse or field as a toilet.


18 Her Woody15 is a 15 square meter oneroom cabin with no kitchen, bathroom or electricity (but complete with woodburning stove). She attempted a modern take on the traditional log cabins by creating an all-wood (Norwegian spruce) cottage from 29 cross-laminated timber (CLT) pieces. The tiny prefab can be assembled in one day (though the cladding, foundation and windows take more time). She shows us

the Woody15 on her friend’s organic farm outside of Oslo. Most element construction in Norway produced abroad with three from there. But there are exceptions, and several are now demanding a bigger commitment to solid and element production in Norway. Where is massive investment? As recently arrived student organization in Trondheim with a sigh when they presented their extensive new construction project at Moholt in solid wood: - It's almost a little embarrassing that a country with so much forest and abundant supply of timber does not have its own production of solid wood - at least not in a sufficiently large scale for such a project, said the project managers. - Woody15 is a cabin produced in Norway and a sign of a change coming, says architect Marianne Borge. - I hope that demand for solid wood soon becomes so high that our timber industry get other terms - then we can spend more of their forests instead of buying from Austria and Germany.

- We may need a bit of expertise of those who have held on longer with this, but to establish a solid production should put more emphasis on, says Borge. Since 2010, she has worked to create a different and industrial cabin. Woody15 and brother Woody35 should be environmentally friendly by virtue of its size, matrialbruk and the amount of resources that went into carrying materials and erect it. - I started thinking about what new solutions one could make with prefabricated materials is, says Borge. The size of the cottage concept was also important. She wanted to create a modern alternative to large and costly cottages. And the smaller cabin, the easier it is to adapt naturally in the landscape or to other buildings.

Up in one day Then Borge invited to participate in the architectural exhibition Oslo Open House. - As part of the exhibition was to lodge stand three days in North Marka and I was totally dependent on a construction method that was quick to get up and quick to get down. When was solid very suitable. Woody15 consists of 29 members assembled in a day, which can be taken down and put up again, says Borge. The exhibition was a success and Woody15 received much media attention.


B: Internal sees the no indications that the cabin is screwed together, here it looks completely seamlessly out? - That's what's great with solid wood - that internal surfaces are done when items are set up. You are guaranteed a precision and accuracy with this construction process and less rework on site. - And it's solid elements that can withstand a bit of everything! But an important point was that those who set it up in Oslo, knew that it would be turned down again. They were careful where they put the screws, said Borge to builder. - As long as things are well planned, it tends to go pretty good. There are no coincidences in this product, it is carefully thought out and has a predictable and secure for all parties. As an architect, I feel very confident to deliver this product - I know how it looks. - In the second building processes may be some leaps and things that need to be solved along the way because it requires some reading drawings and the like. Communication is easier when the building

Architects: Marianne Borge Location: Isdammen, Norway Area: 17.0 sqm Project Year: 2014

City Home

Robotics-engineer-turned-entrepreneur Hasier Larrea wants to give furniture superpowers. In response to rising rents and populations in global cities, he has created a tool to make small spaces work harder with robotics.



As head of Architectural Robotics research at the MIT Media Lab, Larrea spent 4 years developing strategies for “living large in a small space”: his team created an “army of furniture with superpowers” and built a 200 square-foot CityHome, living

laboratory focused on using mechatronics (electronics plus mechanical engineering). Now, his company Ori– Japanese for “to fold”- has created robotic furniture that transforms into a bedroom, living room or an office with the push of a button. “The idea here is architecture and robotics: so how you bring mechanics, electronics, software to make spaces effortlessly transformable. And the word ‘effortless’ is very important because I’ve seen thousands of beautiful tiny apartments that are just too much work to transform. So how we can make

transformation not be a ritual, how we can make transformation be magical and that’s where the power of robotics comes into play.” Ori System’s first offering (widely available in early 2017) is a morphing wall that divides any studio into separate spaces by pushing a button for one of the presets: living room, bedroom and office. The unit, designed by Yves Béhar, resembles a large wall of shelves with a closet, drawers, pop-out desk and a bed which slides out automatically when the bedroom setting is pushed.

What makes the system function is fairly simple: a mechanical actuator to slide the bed and the wall, embedded sensors for safety (the furniture stops morphing if motion is detected, similar to a garage-door opener) and the computer portion leaves the system open to be upgraded with new apps (with future versions of the software, the unit could be controlled by voice or gestures). The furniture can be controlled by smartphone so users can set up their space before arriving home.

Ori is currently rolling out the product in three cities (Boston, Seattle and Washington, D.C.), working directly with commercial and residential real estate developers (we filmed with him in Skanska’s Watermark Seaport building in Boston). Larrea says that future iterations of the product will take advantage of vertical space by moving a bed or table to the ceiling when not in use. “It’s interesting because the moment you make it as tiny as 200 square feet, that’s when moving sideways doesn’t make as much sense, then you need to go up.”

Ori is launching with two options- systems for a full, or queen, size bed- and customizable storage and cabinetry colors, but in the future Larrea hopes that his creation will scale to serve even the DIY community. “We don’t want to create a closed system, a bunch of guys here in Boston from MIT are not going to design all the spaces of the world. But what if we can provide the tools so that the people who really understand spaces, spaces that are different in Shanghai, in Seoul, in New York. What if those people could have access to tools. And that’s what we’ve been seeing in software, in the maker movement, what if we could bring that to architecture and design.”


The CityHome Lab is a 200 square-foot Living Laboratory designed to develop, deploy, test, and evaluate strategies for “living large in a small space”, with a focus on the mechatronics of hyper-efficient transformable infill, new home interfaces, and technologies related to distributed work, proactive health, energy conservation, entertainment, and communication. The integration of these new systems and technologies creates urban dwellings that function as if they were much larger, minimize resource consumption, and develop rich living experiences for their occupants.

the places we increasingly want to live, work and play. The robotic technologies come out of MIT Media Lab's CityHome project, focused on utilizing technology to respond to the challenges of global urbanization. Ori derives its name from “origami,” the Japanese art of folding paper to create beautiful and remarkable objects. Like its etymology, Ori is a prefix for something magical to come.

Ori full system Guided by the principal that interior space, particularly in high-density urban innovation centers around the world, has become too expensive to be static and unresponsive, Ori’s breakthrough innovation, technology and design create dynamic environments that act and feel as though they are substantially larger. Through architectural robotics, Ori’s systems promise to liberate urban design, provide new user experiences, and unlock the potential of

At the touch of a button, the full-size bed configuration transforms to offer a fullscale bedroom, office, and living room. The retractable bed offers both an office and closet with abundant storage space, and a full media console/credenza for the living room. Both units have an on-device console with presets to control the unit's movement, as well as a corresponding app to reconfigure the unit from anywhere in the world.

KASITA Professor Jeff Wilson wants to create the "iPhone for housing". He thinks we need to shed our preconceptions of housing as dependent on land and instead consider his plug-and-play shelter. His Kasita units are not just tiny homesthe prototype is 208 square feet-, but they fit onto a “rack” to become part of “a vertical, high-end, design-yet-affordable, urban trailer park”. “Think about an RV park”, explains Wilson, “it’s a vertical way to do that: so you own your RV and you park it in a slot, this is a structure that these can go vertically.”


20 Born into the zeitgeist of the Tiny House Movement, Kasita goes far beyond size with its housing-as-a-service. “The problem with tiny houses is the coding, the permitting and the land. And the land’s the most difficult issue to solve because the folks who usually have the land are not the folks that need affordable housing. So our model allows the folks that have the land to highly monetize that land while providing home ownership to someone.”

The Kasita is built according to international building code and the unit and rack structure is zoned as multi-unit housing. Kasita, according to Wilson, isn’t a real estate firm, but a product company. They’re not just selling their “iPhones for housing”, but they’re selling the racks so anyone with a bit of land can create their own “vertical, high-end, urban trailer park”. If Wilson and his team can sell enough racks around the country, these modular units could become truly mobile: the idea is, in the future, owners could request a move via an app on their phone. “So folks aren’t going to be flying around all the time in their Kasitas, but in 5 years let’s say you want to move your Kasita, we can pull you out of that rack, put you on an 18-wheeler truck and move you to another rack or put it in a backyard. So you’re no longer bound to the land that you own your house on and we think that that’s the way that the world is moving.” Wilson was inspired to attempt to revolutionize housing while, as a college professor, he tried living in a 33-squarefoot dumpster for 10 months. In 2016 he built the prototype and later this year he plans to launch the 320-square-foot production model at 3 locations in Austin. There will be an option to rent or buy and while Wilson hasn’t released the price, he says it will be affordable even to a barista.

Not every company can say their CEO used to live in a dumpster. That’s our founder’s tale— from tech pioneer, to professor, to tiny space astronaut. Jeff Wilson got his start at the height of the dot-com boom in the late 90’s. Silicon Valley was buzzing, but after three years he felt stifled by the system and its lack of real innovation. Wilson quit the corporate grind, buried his Rolex in a California desert, and set out to find more from life. Years later, after earning a Ph.D. and becoming a professor, Wilson became fascinated by minimalism. He sold most of his possessions for a dollar apiece and spent his summer breaks


traveling abroad with nothing but the clothes on his back. After moving to Austin, Texas, his love for minimalist living culminated in an educational and social experiment where he lived in a used 33 square foot dumpster for an entire year. Small living led Wilson to reimagine what a comfortable home could be—especially in a growing city in need of affordable, urban housing. He took all the best elements of dumpster life—more from less, beautiful design, and smart technology—and conceptualized a dream space. He called it KASITA. A whole new category of living. HOW BIG IS THE KASITA? The KASITA is over 300 square-feet with 10.5-foot ceilings. High-end industrial design, giant floor-to-ceiling windows, and optimized storage make the home feels twice as big. WHAT’S INCLUDED IN A KASITA? The KASITA is a complete home outfitted with all the latest amenities, including central heat and cooling, a queen-sized bed, full shower, dual induction cooktop, microwave/oven combo, washer/dryer combo, refrigerator, and the latest IoT technology.

Top 20 Tiny homes  

Christian Martin

Top 20 Tiny homes  

Christian Martin