Tiny Attic Apartment with its Own Indoor Atrium

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Attics are often converted into small apartments, and this one, located in Moscow, Russia, is a great example of such renovation projects done right. It was designed and built by the firm Ruetemple, and they created a light-filled home that even has a small indoor garden of sorts, to make up for the lack of a balcony.

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The attic apartment measures 516 sq ft (48 sq m) and is cleverly partitioned so that all available space is utilized, while also offering privacy should the inhabitants desire it. As is the case in many spall space renovations, they installed a central, multi-purpose spatial element. In this case it is in the form of a white core, and it’s primarily used to separate the space into five distinct zones. These zones can be used for watching TV, enjoy an active pastime, dressing, sleeping and working. This core also features a floating meditation space, which is basically a glass walled cube complete with a living tree.

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This relaxation space is elevated off the ground, providing an area for storing the movable modules underneath it. These modules can be moved around the space as needed, and locked together to create a sitting area or sleeping space. The dining table, which can also serve as the worktable runs the length of the apartment, which is a nice solution when working with such a small space. The apartment features many skylights and windows, so it is always flooded with natural daylight.

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It appears that the small apartment does not have its own kitchen or bathroom, which are presumably located elsewhere in the house that this attic is attached to. Despite the lack, this is still a very aesthetic, comfortable and modern attic-into-home conversion that can serve as inspiration to designers everywhere.

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All in One Kitchen Unit

Looking for the perfect kitchen for your tiny home? Well look no further, because the Swiss firm Kitchoo has the perfect all-in-one solution. The kitchen units they offer are compact and small enough to fit into most any tiny house or apartment without sacrificing functionality.

Kitchoo is actually the Japanese word for “good omen” and these all-in-one kitchen units are exactly that for anyone wanting to downsize and still retain all the comforts of a larger dwelling. The basic Kitchoo unit features a sink, a two-burner induction stovetop, a compact dishwasher and cabinet space. The faucet can be pressed down allowing the two lids that cover the sink and stove to be lowered, which creates a good amount of counter space, or an eating surface. The drawers are all big enough to store plates, cups, dishes and utensils. And best of all, despite the superb functionality and offering everything you need from a kitchen, these units take up very little space. Also, by combining more than one unit, you can have yourself a fully mobile and fully functional kitchen.

Besides the basic model, they also offer several higher end versions, which have space for a fridge/freezer combo or a washing machine. The design of these units is also totally flexible, so any of the appliances you don’t need can be switched out and replaced by the ones you do. The unit also comes in a variety of finishes, including dark oak, light oak and white.

Prices start at $3,483 for the basic version and go up to $4,645. They’re currently only available in Europe and the Middle East, but the firm plans to make them available in North America soon.

Sun-Speckled Off Grid Cabin

The Olive Tree House is a tiny summer cabin that was designed by Greek architect Eva Sopéoglou. It is located in Halkidiki, Greece and operates completely off the grid. As an interesting an unique design feature, it is also clad in metal, which is perforated with decorative shapes that cover the interior walls with dappled sunlight when closed.

The Olive Tree House has a floorspace of just 226 sq ft (21 sq m) and is located in an olive grove that overlooks the sea. It was also built in a way that allows for easy dismantling and reassembly should the need arise. It features a chestnut wood frame and has concrete foundations. The sloping roof is made of corrugated iron. All the metal seems a questionable choice given Greece’s hot climate, but the walls open all the way, providing great ventilation, and even when closed, the perforations still let air inside. The interior layout is also such that it provides a good cross draft.

The perforations and small jutting-out leaf pieces that cover the metal siding were created with a CNC punching machine and by hand, and took quite a long time to complete. But the end result is impressive and really sets this tiny home apart from others.

The entire cabin was prefabricated off-site, while the design also took into consideration the natural path of the sun on site so as to provide ample shading. To create more space, the living room extends to the outside. The house also features a kitchenette, while the bedroom is separated off from the rest of the space by storage closets. The bathroom features a composting toilet, sink and shower.

The Olive Tree House is completely independent of the grid. Electricity is provided via a solar panel array, and water comes from a tank. They have plans to also install a rainwater collection system in the future.

Modern Rammed Earth Home

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Using earth to build a home has many sustainable advantages, while also keeping costs down. And a rammed earth home can also be very modern. The latter has been proven before, and now again by the Chinese design firm Hypersity. They drew inspiration from traditional cave houses of the Shanxi province and created a gorgeous home with curved walls and a very modern look.

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The home was designed for an Internet star who already had a cave house in the area and wanted to renovate it into a more modern version. The so-called “yáodòng” or cave houses have been built in this area for a long time, and they are still getting constructed. They are normally carved out of hillsides or dug from a pit that later acts as a central courtyard, and by some estimates 40 million people still live in them. The firm Hypersity began the renovation by first demolishing a part of the existing home to create space for a bigger courtyard, while also creating a rammed earth perimeter.

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The home is made up of several rammed earth volumes, which are connected by five outdoor courtyards that allow for great ventilation and let lots of natural light into the living space. The home features a lining area, dining room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and storage rooms. These are located in the different volumes of the home, while the courtyards that connect them also act as a Chinese garden of sorts, letting more nature into the dwelling.

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The interior design of the rooms is very minimalist yet warm and cozy, which is primarily due to the use of natural materials and simple, functional furnishings. The living room, for example, features a barrel-vaulted ceiling, and is screened off from the rest of the home by a wooden partition. They also installed a so-called “light well” in the area between the bedroom and living room, which lets plenty of natural daylight into these rooms.

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The firm used locally sourced earth to construct this home, which brought down the costs considerably, but there is no word on how much the renovation costs. This project is a great example of how traditional architecture still has an important place in the modern world, especially one where promoting sustainable living is so important.

China Soon to Get a Forest City

The mountainous Liuzhou region in Southern China will soon be home to a whole city of vertical forest towers, which were originally the brainchild of Italian architect Stefano Boeri. This so-called Forest City will no doubt offset some of the alarming air pollution the country is facing.

The city will create homes for 30,000 people and was commissioned by the Liuzhou Municipality Urban Planning department. Apart from apartments, it will also feature all the amenities normally found in cities, such as hotels, hospitals, schools, offices and so on. These towers and other structures that will make up this city will be powered by solar panels and geothermal energy.

The facades of the buildings will be covered in plants and trees, as will the parks and gardens between them. There will be a total of 40,000 trees and roughly a million plants, representing 100 different species. According to the designers, Forest City will absorb around 10,000 tons of C02 and 57 tons of pollutants, as well as produce 900 tons of oxygen every year.

Forest City will be located just to the north of the city of Liuzhou, which has about a million and a half inhabitants. A rail line of electric cars will connect these two cities. China is the third country to begin construction of such a vertical forest city, with similar projects already underway in Italy and Switzerland. More countries around the world should consider commissioning such greenery-clad cities, or at least building some vertical forest towers, in an effort to offset pollution and bring some nature back into cities.

Construction of the Chinese Forest City is already underway and will be completed by 2020.