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.
The firm Miller Kendrick Architects of London, UK recently completed a unique pop-up cabin in the Welsh Countryside. It’s called Arthur’s Cave and was the winning entry in a recent Wales’s Year of Legends festival, which invited designers to come up with proposals for mini-hostels to be built in Wales. Arthur’s Cave draws inspiration from the legend of King Arthur who according to folklore once took refuge in a cave in the area.
The cabin is very small and cave-like. It features a small living area, a bathroom and a den-like bedroom in the back. It has an undulating rib structure and sheathing made of CNC-cut birch plywood. Each section of the ribs is made up of many smaller pieces, which are joined together by jigsaw joints. A small woodstove is also installed in the cabin and takes care of the heating needs. The cabin also has hot and cold running water, and LED lighting throughout. Power comes via an array of solar panels while it is also equipped with a composting toilet. In other words, it functions off-the-grid.
The cabin is located in Castell y Bere and the materials used to build it were sourced locally. They include dark-stained larch boards from the nearby Esgair Forest, which were milled in Machynlleth . They also used sheep’s wool for insulation and they obtained this material from the town of Ty-Mwar.
This first Arthur’s Cave will soon be a part of a popup hostel, along with eight other cabins like it. The hostel is set to open later this summer, and will offer a comfortable, sustainable and unique glamping experience. There is no word on what the prices to rent one of these cabins will be.
When it comes to tiny homes, a clever and space-saving interior layout is an absolute must. And the Koda micro home definitely has that covered. The home was created by the Estonian firm Kodasema, an it is a modern home with a very small footprint, while also being prefabricated off-site and very easy to assemble.
The Koda has a very modest floorspace of just 284 sq ft (26.4 sq m), yet it appears much more spacious than that. It is made out of concrete, which is an interesting choice as far as prefab homes go. It arrives in sections that can be assembled, or disassembled, in one working day. The home also does not require a foundation and can be built on a wide array of surfaces.
Koda is a two-story home, with the living room, kitchen, bathroom (with toilet and bath/shower), on the lower level and the bedroom and laundry room on the upper level. The home can be fitted with a solar power system, programmable LED lighting, and a digital door lock.
In addition to the Koda home, Kodasema also offers versions that can be used as a café, office, workshop/studio, store, or a classroom. These have slightly different interior layouts, and do not all cost the same. The firm is currently also working on a stackable version of the Koda, and is planning on building a village of Koda homes in Tallinn, Estonia to be completed this August. This is part of their vision that the Koda home be used as an affordable housing solution.
The company ships to the UK, but not to North America, which it hopefully will in the near future. The home is quite pricy though, since the fully equipped version costs around $194,000.
While going camping in a tent has its charms, a lot of people prefer the more comfortable alternative of “glamping”. And the Spanish firm In-Tenta has recently designed a gorgeous micro cabin, which is intended to be deployed in some of the most picturesque landscapes, so that residents can enjoy the best of untouched nature in style and comfort.
The so-called Drop Box micro-cabin is actually just one of the firm’s offerings in the area of modular hotel suites, which are available in different sizes and models. They can all be erected easily and virtually anywhere. They don’t require a foundation, and are made from natural materials to further minimize the impact they have on nature.
The modules are made of sustainable materials like wood and are easy to transport. The Drop Box cabin features a bedroom for two, though adding a bunk bed for children is also an option. There is also a bathroom, with a spacious shower. The cabin also features an outdoor deck, while the house itself also has plenty of glazing to offer the best views possible. Even the bathroom, or more specifically the shower, offers panoramic views of the surrounding nature, which is great when glamping in a secluded spot, but you might need some opaque curtains otherwise.
Both ends of the cabin are glazed, which connects the indoor space with the outdoors beautifully, almost like you would get in a tent. There are very little details on how the modules are constructed, what type of insulation was used and what kind of off-the-grid features it has. But as far as design inspiration goes, I’m sure it can provide lots of ideas. There is also no word on price yet.
French architect Stéphane Malka has a very interesting proposal for how to renovate an old apartment building in Paris. Plug-in City 75, as the project is named, calls for attaching a series of wooden boxes to the building’s façade, which will have the dual function of increasing the interior space of the apartments, as well as make the structure more energy efficient.
Malka came up with this idea because the local building codes do not allow for extending buildings upward, but extending them outward is allowed. He has already designed the wooden boxes to be used for this purpose. They vary in size and are all prefabricated off-site. The building that is to get this interesting facelift is located in Paris’ 16th arrondissement, and was build in the 1970s.
The prefab boxes to be used will be lightweight, and built using sustainably-sourced wood. Plans call for them to be mounted onto the building’s facade. The occupants of the building will be able to decide what they want to use the added space for, such as a lounge, balcony or a loggia. The renovated building will also have a green façade, thanks to the greenery planted along the boxes.
According to Malka’s calculations, these new additions to the façade will reduce the building’s energy expenditure from the current 190 kWh per sq m (10.8 sq ft) per year to 45 kWh per m2 (10.8 sq ft) per year. That’s quite a reduction, and it will be interesting to see if these numbers are achieved in practice. The Plug-in City 75 project will be completed mid-2018.
Overall, this is a great example of an old building renovation done right. This project will boost energy efficiency and create larger living spaces in one go, which should be the goal of urban renovation projects worldwide, if we are to successfully reduce our carbon and energy footprint.