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.

Tiny Home Design With a Hidden Bed

The tiny home builder Cubist Engineering, which is based in Greenwich, New York has created a very interesting tiny home, which has no standard bedroom. Instead, the bed is stowed away under the ceiling in the living room and lowered with the press of a button when needed.

The so-called Sturgis is a 21 ft (6.4 m)-long towable home, and despite its very small size it is quite spacious. Most of the space is gained by not having a standard bedroom, but the rest of the layout was also carefully planned with maximizing the available space in mind.

The Sturgis tiny home features a CLT (cross-laminated timber) structure, and has a cypress wood siding, which was treated by the Shou Sugi Ban method to preserve it and deter pests.  The home also features a fiberglass roof. The home has a total floor space of 170 sq ft (15.8 sq m) and much of it is taken up by the living area, which is equipped with a modular sofa, some cabinetry, and a coffee table.

The kitchenette is small but functional. It features a butcher block countertop, and a two-burner induction stove, while there is also enough space for a fridge and freezer. The bathroom is also quite small, but big enough for a shower, toilet and sink.

The Sturgis has no lofts, the queen-sized bed is simply lowered down by the flick of a switch when it is time for bed.  The mattress is supported by a steel frame, which is wrapped in maple.   According to Cubist Engineering, the bearing and railing system used to raise and lower the bed is the same one that is also used to load fuel rods in nuclear plants.

There is also a so-called “bonus space” in this tiny home, which was created by a raised space next to the living room. It can be used as a reading nook, or storage space and is big enough to store a motorcycle. It can also be used as a utility area, storage space, and more. This storage area can also be accessed from the outside via a gull-wing door that is operated by a remote control.

For power the tiny home uses a standard RV-style hookup, though a solar power system is an optional add-on to the basic version.  Other add-ons include a rainwater collection system, an exterior deck, a security package comprised of cameras and motion sensors, as well as a remote management system, which allows for controlling the lighting, etc. using a smartphone app.

The basic version of the Sturgis home without any add-ons costs $99,000. Apart from homes, the firm also offers different versions of this tiny dwelling, which are suitable as retail space, studios and more.

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).

Paris is Getting a Vertical Forest Tower

Towers covered with greenery are not a new idea and the first ones are already getting built around the globe in an effort to fight the alarming pollution present in some cities. Now the Paris suburb of Villiers sur Marne is getting its own such tower. The so-called Forêt Blanche (which translates to White Forest) was designed by the famous architect Stefano Boeri, who is no stranger to proposing such vertical forest buildings. Towers based on his designs are already getting built in Switzerland and Milan, while a whole city of such towers is being planned in southern China.

Forêt Blanche will be made entirely of wood will stand 177 ft (54 m) tall. The exterior will be covered in 2,000 trees, shrubs and plants. It will feature apartment units at the top, while the lower floors will be taken up by offices and retail spaces.

The fours sides of the tower will be covered by a mix of balconies and terraces on which various plants and trees will be planted. According to the architects, this green covered area will be equivalent to one hectare of forest, which is 10 times larger than the actual footprint of the building itself. The project is still very much in the early stages, so a timeline for its construction and completion has not yet been decided upon.

However, it is a great idea, and one which more large cities should start entertaining. We must embrace nature and help it heal if we are to build a more sustainable future for our world. We will follow this project closely as new developments arise and keep you informed. Let’s hope it is just one of many such projects that we will get to report on in the next year.