Micro Tiny Home is a Minimalist’s Dream

Italian architect and engineer Leonardo Di Chiara recently designed and built a prototype of a micro tiny home, which is seriously small yet still wonderfully functional.  The so-called aVOID tiny house measures just 96 sq ft (9 sq) and is easily towable.  Given its diminutive size, it also presents some unique downsizing solutions.

The home rests atop a double-axle trailer and has a wooden frame, metal cladding, and plenty of glazing. The interior is comprised of a single room and a bathroom. To make the most of the available space, most of the furniture is hidden inside the walls. The home features a Murphy-style single bed, which can be pulled down when needed, and stored away during the day. It can also be turned into a double bed. The dining table also features a pull down design and can easily be stowed away when not needed.  There is also a small, but functional kitchenette, which features a sink, a two-burner induction stove, and some shelving for storage.

The aVOID home also features a rooftop terrace which is accessible via a ladder.  It is great for lounging on sunny days.  The bathroom is tiny and features a shower, composting toilet and some storage space.

Di Chiara is still working on the home, and plans to install solar panels and a greywater system, which will make it independent of the grid. The home is currently on display at Berlin’s Bauhaus Archive Museum of Design, but DiChiara lives in it full time otherwise, with the goal of learning all he can about tiny house living. He says it’s not much different that living at home with his parents, in a small bedroom which must also serve many purposes as one grows up.

Holland to Get Its Own Vertical Forest

Stefano Boeri’s Bosco Verticale idea has really taken off. Now the city of Eindhoven, the Netherlands will get it’s own vertical forest tower.  Similar buildings have already been built in Paris, France and Lausanne, Switzerland. The tower in Holland will provide affordable inner-city social housing.

The so-called Trudo Vertical Forest will be 246 ft (75 m) tall and have 19 floors. The façade will feature 125 trees, 5,200 shrubs and more than 70 species of plants. These will help cleanse the air, improving its quality, as well as provide a pleasant environment to live in.

The basic design of this tower is different than the previous versions of Bosco Verticale.  The exterior is covered in concrete planters and terraces, which jut out from the sides.

The tower will feature 125 apartment units, intended for young people looking for an affordable place to live. Each apartment will have a balcony with one tree and 20 shrubs. The Stefano Boeri Architetti intends to prefabricate the sections needed to build this tower and then assemble them on site.

The project appears to still be in the planning stage at this time, and there is no information about when construction is set to begin, nor by when it will be finished. Although given the fact that this is a prefab building, it should be erected quickly.

Foldable Home Can Be Installed in a Day

Living Room

Prefab homes are a great solution when looking to build fast, and now there is another awesome option to do so on the market.  The Italian architect Renato Vidal has recently unveiled a prefab foldable home, which can be installed in less than a day. The so-called M.A.Di home comes flat-packed and is built using sustainable materials and means, but designed with durability in mind.  It can also withstand earthquakes.

The M.A.Di home is made of CLT (cross laminated timber) and manufactured by wood specialist Area Legno in Italy. It is available in several sizes, namely a 290-sq ft (27-sq m) tiny home, a slightly larger 495-sq ft (46-sq m) home, a 603-sq ft (56-sq m) home, a family sized 753-sq ft (70-sq m) home, or an even larger family home of 904-sq ft (84-sq m).  All the models have two levels and have a kitchen, dining area and bathroom located on the ground level, and bedrooms on the upper level. The homes feature an A frame structure, which makes it easy to fold them for flat-packing and easy transport to the build site.

Exterior

Exterior

Bedroom

Living Room

The home features a steel profile and steel hinges, meaning that each module can be opened and closed with ease.  When closed and folded, the height of the package is just 4.9 ft (1.5 m), while opened, it measures 21.3 ft (6.5 ft) in height. All of the M.A.Di modules have galvanized steel frames which are designed to support the home’s opening and closing movement. The homes are waterproofed using Polyurethane foam, which also provides the thermal insulation. In addition to this, the walls are insulated using high-density rockwool, while the windows can either be PVC or aluminum.

The actual installation is very simple, since each module just unfolds up.  The home doesn’t need a foundation, since it can be anchored in place with a specially-designed screw pile system, which has virtually no impact so this home has a very tiny footprint.   The home can also be built on a reinforced concrete foundation, if so desired.

Large Module Plan

Single Module Plan

The home can be easily packed away, while it is possible to extend the existing home by adding new modules. It can also be designed according to passive house standards, while there is also the option of taking it off-the-grid by installing a solar power array, composting toilet, water tanks and a gray water system.

The price of this home is $933 (€800) per square meter, so the smallest home will cost about $25,195 (€21,600) and the largest $73,385 (€67,200).

Sprawling Shipping Container Home Built in California

Some years ago the London-based architect James Whitaker designed an interesting shipping container office, which was unfortunately never built.  But earlier this year, a film producer from LA came across the plans and commissioned Whitaker to build him a home in the same style on his 90-acre (36-hectare) plot in Joshua Tree, California.

(more…)

Cozy Shipping Container Tiny Home

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This shipping container tiny home was designed in a very unique way, which makes it both stand out from the crowd and quite spacious. It was built out of a single container, and designed by the firm Custom Container Living, which is based in Archie, Missouri. (more…)

By |October 29th, 2016|CONTAINER HOMES|0 Comments

Energy Efficient Homes – Saginaw Sunset

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Jim Guild and Nunzie Gould don’t just want to build places to live. They want to create homes that live forever.

1639-nw-scott-henry-main-floor-2

© Jim Guild Construction

They approach every project with a commitment not only to their clients, but to community, and the environment.  They think deeply not only about the layout of the house, but how what they are building will live and evolve and fit in Bend, Oregon, where they have been master builders for three decades.

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

The married partners in Jim Guild Construction build high performance homes featuring solar arrays, high efficiency, energy-saving windows, fresh air flow technology and cabinetry and woodwork milled from recycled timbers (they are famous in town for their work with old wood). After decades in town, they know Bend’s climate and understand what materials age well there.

But the materials, their experience and their use of local artisans are only a few of ways they build enduring homes.

Take their latest project, Saginaw Sunset, a 20-lot community on five acres in the heart of rapidly-growing Bend. Saginaw is a property most developers drive right by, urban infill set on a steep, sloping site two blocks from the downtown core. For Nunzie and Jim, it was a challenge they embraced. “We don’t go looking for hard things, but we’re not afraid of them,” Jim says.

At Saginaw, they are creating homes with the aid of local architects and designers that fit into the high desert landscape and offer stunning views of the Cascades, where even in summer residents can see the glacier on the Middle Sister peak.

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

They are pieces that fit into a whole, parts of the fabric of the community.  “When you are committed to community, you build things differently,” Nunzie says. “It’s not just blow and go.”

Their focus on building quality green homes meshes with the growing number of people moving to Bend looking for a smaller, manageable city offering the best of the great outdoors and an active arts and foodie scene. The city is among the 50 finalists for the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize (GUEP), an award that will go to the community with the greatest progress toward energy efficiency in the next two years.

So the work Jim and Nunzie, active members of the town’s Environmental Center (Jim is on the board), fits right into the city’s growing green reputation. Saginaw Sunset is a way to meet some of the demand for growth in the city without adding to sprawl by expanding Bend’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).  Their first home in the development was featured on the Tour of Homes and won the coveted ‘People’s Choice Award’ on the Environmental Center’s Green and Solar Tour.

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

They are homes with a conscience, built to last. “We want to build something functionally and aesthetically attractive that will be enduring,” Jim adds. “Something that is forward thinking.”

That forward thinking extends throughout the process, from designing the roof line for highest solar efficiency to integrating the inside and the outside and using as many existing native trees as possible. Because comfort is just as important as sustainability, fresh air flows through each Saginaw home while high-tech utilities keep interior temperatures optimal.

“We take a lot of time to think about a finished product before we get going,” Nunzie says. “We think about how will it live? Is it practical? A house needs to fit how you live.”

Their homes are built to not only last a lifetime, but adapt to the changes of a lifetime.

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

Often people have wasted space in their homes, rooms they don’t use or a garage that serves as storage, she adds. A home needs to evolve. The living spaces that fit a family’s desire change from when their children are three to when they are 12 to when they are adults returning with a child of their own. Through careful planning, the Saginaw homes change with those families. Every house, for instance, has an elevator so they are accessible throughout a homeowner’s life. Every house is custom, created in deep collaboration with their clients. There are no prefab plans. Each dwelling, each site plan, is unique.

Form follows function, but beauty is not sacrificed. “I need a house that is handsome,” Jim says. “That seems like a strange word, but it sticks.”

Nunzie and Jim know how the inside integrates with the outside. “The relationship between the structure and the land needs to be respectful and symbiotic,” Nunzie says.

The high desert of Bend gets less than five inches of rain a year. So they’re not planting big lawns. They add soil amendments to help the volcanic soil of the city (using woody debris at the site to enrich the soil as well). They favor native plants that won’t send the water meter spinning. They use plants that attract bees and butterflies and other pollinators. “We’re being mindful of the bigger ecosystem,” Nunzie says.

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

Their homes cost more, but Jim and Nunzie point to the return on investment whether it’s in the solar array, which will start turning a profit in nine to 14 years, lower energy bills because of the HVAC system, or just the immeasurable value of living within the beauty their artisans create.

What, Nunzie asks, is the value of making an investment today on your return for tomorrow? What is the value of a super-efficient, long-lived home when it comes time to sell? “Part of it is what are we leaving our community?” she says. “Jim and I don’t want to build lesser quality homes, places that will be bulldozed in 50 years.”

“Our houses don’t age,” Jim adds, “and that’s a really, really important feature. It isn’t magic that makes it happen. It’s the dollars and time you’re willing to spend.”