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.
About three years ago, Norway’s Tourism Association held a competition for designing the best self-catering mountain lodges, which they could place on hiking trails across the country. The winning lodges were the so-called Skåpet Mountain Lodges designed by Koko Architects. These lodges are made up of a group of off-grid cabins, which require very little maintenance and can house up to 35 hikers. They also operate completely off-the-grid, and provide a secure and comfortably warm shelter even in the harshest conditions, which in Norway can get pretty harsh. The first of these Skåpet Mountain Lodges was recently built on a hiking trail in Rogaland.
The lodge is comprised of a main building, a sleeping area, and bathroom facilities that also include a wood-fired sauna and a storage room. The total floorspace of the complex measures 3,767 sq ft (350 sq m). The structures are clad in rolled zinc, and this material was chosen because of its durability. According to Koko Architects the cladding will not require any maintenance for decades, even in the harsh weather conditions of the mountainside. The interior is clad in unfinished natural wood, and the structures offer great views of the surrounding area. Furthermore, the separate modules needed to build the cabins were prefabricated, so the assembly was very quick and easy.
The lodge gets water from a lake located nearby, while they are heated by wood-burning stoves. There are also two gas-powered stoves for preparing food, while a solar power array provides the necessary electricity. The cabin operates on a trust system, meaning that visitors are expected to leave money to cover the costs of them staying there, as well as to clean up after themselves, and make sure there is enough food and firewood left for the next visitors.