Unusual Stackable Cabin That Can be Used as Disaster Relief Housing

The Ljubljana, Slovenia-based OFIS Architects recently completed a unique cabin, which could serve as a tiny dwelling, a vacation home, housing for researchers, or even a shelter. It’s located near Ljubljana Castle, which is on a hill overlooking the city. It is the result of a joint effort between the companies Permiz, C+C, C28 and AKT Living Unit.

The project is aptly named Living Unit on Ljubljana Castle and features a flexible wooden shell that makes it easy to install it on nearly any kind of terrain. It’s also easy to transport pretty much anywhere. The basic version of the cabin is made up of three wooden volumes, which are designed to be stacked on top of each other. The cabin measures 14.7 by 8.2 by 8.8 ft (4.5 by 2.5 by 2.7 m), but since it is modular it can be expanded in size both vertically and horizontally. No foundation is required, but it does need to be anchored into place.

The volumes seem to be quite tiny, and the home features a kitchen and dining area on the ground floor, a sleeping area on the first floor and a lounge on the top floor, which is accessible by a ladder. The kitchen features a sink and stove, and a storage unit, which can also be used as a ladder leads up to the next floor. The bathroom is next to the sleeping area, though it is not pictured here.

The volumes are quite tiny, but they are very functional, and solar panels, a composting toilet and a water filtration system would all be easily installed, then this cabin would be completely independent of the grid.

The Living Unit on Ljubljana Castle is currently a temporary library, and is open to the public from 5.30-9.30 PM every day through August 14. There is no word yet on pricing, though this will likely be released soon.

Capsule Hotel Makes Layovers More Comfortable at an Italian Airport

Flying is anything but great for the environment, but it has become pretty much unavoidable. It has also become a lot less comfortable than it used to be just 20 years ago. Prices have gone up, seats have gotten smaller, and layovers can sometimes last a day if we wish to book the cheapest possible flight. During these layovers, a lot of people opt to sleep somewhere in the airport instead of booking a hotel, which together with transportation to and from the airport can get pricy. These kinds of sleeping arrangements are usually not very comfortable. Not so at the Naples International Airport though.

The local design firm Carlotta Tartarone and Studiotre has created and installed the so-called Bed and Boarding (or BenBo) capsule hotel in the Naples airport. The idea came from the Japanese capsule hotels located at Tokyo airport that offer cheap, basic accommodation to travelers. The BenBo is located right at the airport, and never closes. The pods it’s made up of can be rented out to get some sleep in between legs of travel, or for just an hour to shower and change before continuing on with the journey.

Each capsule measures 43 sq ft (4 sq m) and is equipped with an automated door and soundproof walls. The furnishings in each capsule are basic and include a bed, storage cabinets, a mirror, a workstation, and free Wi-Fi. Two of the capsules are also wheelchair-accessible. Each guest has access to a private bathroom with shower, which is not attached to the capsule they are renting. Part of the hotel is also a well-lit common space, which effectively ties the capsules together and provides a space where guests can socialize or work.

As for the prices, you can rent a BenBo capsule for $9 for the first hour, $8 for the second hour, while a 9-hour stay will set you back $28. Future plans include building similar hostels at the airports in Rome, Bergamo and Palermo. They are also planning to enlarge the current BenBo hostel in Naples to include 30 two-room capsules.

Offices of the Future Will Have Beds

One of the things I love about being a freelancer is the ability to work virtually anywhere I please, even from the sofa or bed. But regular, 9-to-5 office spaces have been changing too, with cubicles giving way to more open plan setups. Design students at ÉCAL University have come up with this ingenious work space layout as part of a workshop, which they call Workbay Village. It is a flexible, fun workspace, which allows employees to work, nap, and even grow plants.

Workbay Village is made up of custom-designed office pods, which were inspired by the so-called Workbays system of office dividers originally designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. The workshop was led by Erwan Bouroullec and Camille Blin, and the main goal was to create an office which fosters greater interaction between people by giving workers a chance to step away from work and exchange ideas in a more casual manner.

One of the pods that makes up this office set-up is the so-called Farm Bay, which was created by ÉCAL student Paula Cermeno. It allows employees to grow and care for plants, while also purifying the air inside the office. Another of the pods is the so-called Bar Bay, which was created by student Sara de Campos, and it is a sort of bar, which lets employees have their happy hour right in the office. The style of this pod was inspired by Japanese sushi bars.

The Nap Bay, as the name suggests, is a pod where people can take a quick nap during the workday. It features a comfy looking bed and curtains for privacy, and was designed by Yasunori Morinaga. Another sleeping area was designed by Antoine Chauvin and is called Capsule Bay. It was inspired by Japanese capsule hotels, and it is made up of two small bedrooms one on top of the other, with the top one accessible via a set of rungs. The lamps, standing desk chairs, wall bins and the bungee-cord storage system, were also designed by the students specifically for this project.

Eco-Resorts Going up in the Azores

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Luxury Prefab Off-The-Grid Cabin

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.