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.
A team of professionals at ETH Zurich have started work on a house which will be digitally fabricated at nearly all stages of the construction process. The so-called DFAB House is being crafted at the NEST building near Zurich in Switzerland. Designing and constructing it will be a team effort between architects, robotics specialists, materials scientists, structural engineers and sustainability experts, as well as local contractor Erne AG Holzbau. One of the main aims of constructing this house is putting sustainable technologies developed in labs to real-life use to test them.
When completed, DFAB House will measure 2153 sq ft (200 sq m). The ground floor walls are being built by a 6.6 ft (2 m) tall robot with a toolhead that is used to bend and weld 0.24 inch (6 mm) steel rebar to construct the mesh wall framework. This is then filled with a specially formulated concrete which hardens so that it does not leak through the gaps. This process will result in a curved wall, while the robot used to build it is autonomous and moves around on caterpillar tracks. The ceilings of the house will be constructed using a 3D sand printer.
The so-called Smart Dynamic Casting method will be used for the ground floor façade. This is a new slipform construction method which allows for complex structural elements to be built without needing concrete molds. A team of robots will be used to construct the building’s upper floors, using prefab timber elements.
Apart from providing apartments and work spaces for guest researchers and NEST partners, the house will also be fitted with a range of smart home and IoT technologies, including innovative systems that communicate with and learn from each other, as well as other energy control systems. The DFAB House is expected to be finished by the summer of 2018.
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.
The tiny house movement has come a long way these last couple of years, which has led to many innovative approaches to constructing these sustainable dwellings. The tiny house firm Extraordinary Structures of Santa Fe, NM is one of those companies that has been pushing the envelope in finding new and innovative ways of building these structures. Their latest offering, the so-called SaltBox was constructed with the help of digital fabrication.
The SaltBox rests atop a 24-foot-long trailer and measures 200 sq ft (18.6 sq m). It was constructed using a rapid-assembly system, which the firm has developed. This method of construction utilizes CNC-cut materials and a panelized system of SIPs which greatly shorten the time it takes to build this tiny home. An envelope made of permeable house wrap and a thermal wrap of mineral wool board makes up the first layer of the home. Next is the metal exoskeleton made out of 22-gauge steel, which serves the purpose of acting as a rain shield. The roofline of the SaltBox is asymmetrical, and this shape was inspired by the traditional New England saltbox-type roof. It was also chosen because it makes it easier to install solar panels.
The interior was kept quite open and minimalist. They left the panels and joints exposed, which gives it a very modern aesthetic. To save space they’ve also installed built-in storage cabinets, and a Murphy bed that can be folded up and thus moved out of the way during the day. When lowered, a couple of ottomans provide support for it.
The kitchen and bathroom share a wall, so that they could reduce the number of plumbing lines that needed to be installed. The kitchen is fitted with a large sink, a two-burner induction cooktop, a fume hood and a small smart drawer refrigerator. The bathroom features a Japanese-style ofuro tub, which was handmade out of cedar. The home also features a composting toilet. Over the bathroom is a small loft, which can either be used as a reading nook, or a guest bedroom. The home is heated using a high-efficiency gasifier woodstove, which takes up very little room.
The fully fitted version of this home sold for $82,500, while the company also offers a stripped down, basic version for $50,000.
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.