If you’re in a part of the world where the cold of winter has set in, you might be longing for a tropical island paradise. This appealing beach cottage is located on Utila, an island in the western Caribbean 30 miles off the coast of Honduras. It sits within 150′ of a sandy shoreline, surrounded by coconut palms, almond and banana trees.
Following the 2006 housing market crash in the United States, Revelations Architects/Builders set out to design a small house alternative to the bloated McMansion that had become so prevalent there. They aimed to distill housing down to the basics of providing space for eating, sleeping, bathing and socializing, while making efficient use of resources.
The result was the E.D.G.E. (Experimental Dwelling for a Greener Environment). It consists of two modules containing the service areas of the house, with the kitchen in one and the bathroom in the other. The modules are intended to be prefabricated, ensuring that the plumbing, mechanical and cabinetry work is done in a controlled setting. Once those modules have been put in place, the space between is filled in with walls of glass to enclose the living/dining area. The whole structure is covered by a butterfly roof (one that slopes towards the center), facilitating rain-water collection. Utilities are housed in a small bump-out at one end of the house.
This small Japanese house is fairly unremarkable on the outside. It is interesting enough with its green metal cladding and inset entry, but not particularly outstanding. Step inside though and the Gate house leaves a very different impression. For such a small house it has an extremely visually stimulating interior. There are unexpected openings and views no matter where you look.
The Gate house sits on a narrow lot in Tokyo. With only 4.5 m (14′ 9″) of width to work with, the house had to be long and skinny. And with neighboring houses sitting close by on both sides, there was limited opportunity to provide views to the outdoors from all rooms. Instead, the architects from mihadesign created a dynamic interior to engage the occupants at every turn, substituting interesting internal views for external ones.
This small 2-story house sits in a deciduous forest on the outskirts of Santiago, Chile. It was designed by Parra + Edwards Arquitectos. The house is a simple rectangular box given architectural interest by the patchwork pattern of alternating glass and solid wall.
Supposedly it was named for Apollo 11 because it was conceived to be “like a ship that landed in a forest without touching it at any time and will undertake its departure, leaving the forest intact.” That sounds like pure architectural hubris; no one but an architect would imagine that a house could be built in a formerly untouched forest with no impact. However with the largely transparent lower level, the more solid-walled upper level does appear from some angles to be hovering like a spaceship.
Casa B8 is a small modern house located on the coast of Chile. Designed by architects 56.02, it consists of two simple rectangular blocks joined by a deck. One block contains the living area and a bedroom, while the second one, at half the size, is used as a guest suite. Between the two blocks is a courtyard patio protected on a third side by a storage wall that also houses a barbecue cooking area. The front door of the house actually provides entrance to this courtyard rather than going directly inside. Having a sheltered outdoor space was important as the area is subject to frequent high winds blowing in from the Pacific.
MIMA House is a small prefabricated dwelling manufactured in northern Portugal. It is unique for its ability to be reconfigured by the owners post-delivery. The interior walls consist of lightweight panels that can be easily relocated or removed by two people. MIMA House is the creation of architects Mário Sousa and Marta Brandão of MIMA Architects. They spent several years refining the concept in order to arrive at a finished product that would be quick to manufacture, easy to assemble, of good quality and affordable.
The house has a square plan with the four facades being nearly identical. Corner posts support the roof so that the intervening walls can be entirely glass. The exterior styling is unabashedly modern with clean lines and crisply folded edges.
Earthly concerns weighing you down? What better way to escape than by taking off in your very own space ship?
This UFO is one of the unique tree houses at Treehotel in Harads, Sweden. Two weeks ago we had a look at the Bird’s Nest tree house. The Bird’s Nest was designed to blend harmoniously into its forest setting. While that was being developed, the opposite idea came up, a tree house that was completely alien to its surroundings. Well, you can’t get much more alien than a UFO, can you?
Most of the small houses from Japan that we’ve looked at so far have been on very small lots in dense urban areas. The architects were faced with maximizing the livability within a very small building envelope. Today’s small house is on a relatively large lot in the suburban town of Chikuzen, Japan. It faces an open wheat field to the northeast with views of distant mountains, but has neighbors on the other three sides. With a flat barren lot, the challenge was to create a sense of protection and privacy.
Architect Kazuya Matsuda of Design nico Architects was asked to design a small house for a couple and their future children. He split the 107.3 m2 (1,155 ft2) house into two rectangular volumes, the social areas in one and the private areas in the other. Separate gable roofs on each volume gives the house a strong visual identity.