The tiny house maker Tiny Heirloom recently completed another unique and luxury tiny home. This one is called Rocky Mountain Tiny Home and is used as a vacation cabin by a family of four in Colorado. The home features some clever design solutions, which make the family’s stay there as cozy and comfortable as possible.
The Rocky Mountain Tiny Home was built atop a 28 ft (8.5 m)-long triple-axle trailer, but since it features overhanging lofts the total length of it is 32 ft (9.7 m). the exterior is clad in wood and metal, which gives it a rustic yet modern aesthetic. The home features a lounge area, a kitchen, a bathroom, and two bedrooms. There is also a home office, which is separated from the rest of the home by a sliding door.
The kitchen is quite spacious and features a mini-dishwasher, a range cooker, and a fridge. It is fitted with a copper sink. There is also a skylight in this area of the home, which is operated by a touchscreen display that’s mounted on the wall. The lounge is at one end of the home, and is equipped with a dining table on wheels, which allows it to be moved to where it’s needed.
The bedrooms are located in the two lofts and each is accessible via a storage stair. The master bedroom is quite spacious, while the children’s bedroom is big enough to fit two twin beds, which are separated by a bookcase to give each of the kids some privacy. There are skylights in both the bedrooms too.
The Rocky Mountain Tiny Home also features a rooftop-mounted solar panel array, which is connected to batteries and an inverter. A propane-powered mini-split system takes care of the heating and cooling needs, while they use a tankless gas water heater for getting hot water. The home is also fitted with LED lighting throughout. It cost about $125,000 to build.
Architect Vincent Callebaut is well-known for his ambitious sustainable architecture project proposals, and this latest one that he’s proposing for the EU city of Brussels is no exception. His plans call for turning the city’s industrial area of Brussels into a sustainable community. They plan to renovate existing buildings, as well as build new high-rises, which would be equipped with a wide array of sustainable features.
Callebaut’s plans call for the building of three high-rises, which would have a total floorspace of 915,000 sq ft (85,000 sq m). These buildings would feature a slide-like shape and rise to a max height of 328 ft (100 m). The roof would be clad in solar panels, while the balconies could be used to grow fruits and vegetables.
The plans also include the renovation of the old Marine Terminal, which measures 538,000 sq ft (50,000 sq m) to serve the communities needs. It would be divided up into different areas, and would feature several geodesic domes that would house restaurants, bars and other structures. There would also be raised pods made from CLTs that would serve as meeting spaces. Retail and office spaces would be housed in another set of CLT structures. It would also be possible to attach small greenhouses to the exterior of the buildings.
Among the green tech planned for this project are the already mentioned large solar power arrays, wind turbines, airtight building envelopes, natural ventilation, and rainwater collection systems. They calculated that the complex would generate 186 percent of its annual electricity requirements, and this surplus would then me used to power the historic buildings in the area, as well as any planned future developments.
We will, however have to wait and see whether this project gets picked up by the city’s planning commission.
The Azores, a group of gorgeous islands just off the coast of Portugal, has seen increased tourism in recent years. However fortunate that maybe, it also presents a problem for the environment, so in a bid to retain the unspoiled state of the landscape, the local Tourism and Agribusiness Development Company of the Azores (TADA) has come up with a way to preserve it. They will be developing eco-resorts across the islands, which will be sustainable and have a minimal footprint.
The resorts will basically be made up of solar powered cabins, which they are calling the Eco Pods. They are currently planning to build six of these eco-resorts and the first is already under construction in the Vila Franca Do Campo Region of São Miguel Island. It’s set to open in the summer of 2017.
The resort will feature an as yet undisclosed number of Eco Pods. The smallest of these will measure 161 sq ft (15 sq m) and will feature a sleeping area and a sitting area, along with a small food preparation space. The pod will be equipped with a fridge, a coffee machine and a TV. The bathroom will be located outside and will be heated by an external wood burner.
There will also be a few 215 sq ft (20 sq m) Eco Pods. These will have all of the above, but the bathroom will be an inside one. The largest of the Eco-Pods making up the resort will measure 322 sq ft (30 sq m) and will feature all of the above as well as a small kitchenette.
All the EcoPods are prefabricated and raised off the ground on stilts that are made from recycled electricity poles. Among the other materials used for the construction are locally-sourced pumice stone, windows made from recycled plastic bottles, and timber that is grown locally. The cabins will be powered by a solar panel array. The Eco-Pods currently have normal toilets with septic tanks installed, though the plan was to equip them with composting toilets, which sadly fell through.
The Eco-Pods are built to withstand high-winds and earthquakes, while TADA also plans to put the designs to use for other purposes, such as disaster relief housing, or garden pavilions.
The recently unveiled Gapahuk cabin was designed by the Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta and the leisure home builder Rindalshytter. It can be equipped to operate completely independently of the grid, and comes in a prefabricated package, meaning it can be built virtually anywhere.
The Gapahuk is a single story structure and has 968 sq ft (90 sq m) of interior floorspace. The interior is well-laid out, with most of the space taken up by a large open plan living/dining area and kitchen. The home also features three bedrooms, a spacious bathroom with a shower and toilet, and another separate toilet. The home also features a large covered outdoor deck, and plenty of storage areas, both inside and out.
Judging from the renders, the finished home will feature ample glazing, while most of the interior and exterior surfaces will be clad in wood. While the basic version is intended to be hooked up to the grid, it would also be easy to install the necessary tech to take if off-grid. according to the firm, the cabin’s sloping roof is ideal for installing solar panels, while it also protects from both the sun and from high winds. The home is heated by a wood burning stove, while it would probably be relatively simple to install a composting toilet, and a couple of water tanks and a water filtration system. Since the home was designed in Norway, it is probably safe to assume it offers comfortable living conditions even in the harshest climates.
The Gapahuk is probably the closest thing you can get to a professionally designed, high-end prefab home at the moment, and as such also carries a hefty price tag. It costs roughly $156,600 (1350,000 NOK) which does not include construction, or any of the off-grid features.
Repurposing and renovating old, disused buildings is still one of the most sustainable forms of architecture. So it is always nice to see such projects being successfully completed, as is the case with this old office building in Lisbon, Portugal, which has been turned into an apartment complex by the local firm Waataa. The offices were transformed into cozy and functional studio apartments, which feature clever multipurpose furniture in order to maximize the available space.
The original offices had high ceilings, which is a great advantage when working with small spaces and the architects used it to the fullest. The original spaces also had large windows, which let in plenty of natural daylight. The apartments were fitted with cabinets in the walls, and they feature modules painted in bright colors to add some vibrancy to the studio apartments. The colors are also used to designate the function of each module. Blue is for the sleeping area, which is where the Murphy bed is hidden. Yellow was used for the kitchen, above which is a mezzanine level intended as a lounge, a work area, and an entertainment area.
The mezzanine level is accessible via a set of alternating tread stairs, which were made out of particleboard. The bathroom is quite spacious and it is located below the mezzanine level. A skylight lets plenty of natural light into it.
The tables and beds all need to be folded down to be used, which can be a nuisance for some, but does save a lot of space. It also serves to bring the inhabitant closer to his or her living space, since there is constant interaction with it. These apartments are great for students or young professionals, and should offer an affordable living arrangement in a city where rents are quite high.