With so much talk about sustainability and frugal living, it is not a surprise that so many architects have lately focused their efforts on the micro housing units. In the context of excessive urban densification, a change in scale and tiny living are welcome and necessary. Micro houses are increasingly popular, due to their smaller taxes, building and maintenance costs. They are also a good option for temporary living or nomadic lifestyles. Let’s take a look at the top three smallest and most efficient micro-houses at the moment. You will also find some micro house plans and pictures for more inspiration.
What is a micro unit?
A micro house is the smallest dwelling type, that fulfills all the requirements of habitation: shelter, sleep, cooking, heating, toilet, everything on a very compact space. At the moment, micro-houses are common in high-density cities and countries like Japan, Hong-Kong and Singapore.
The micro-apartment is a variety to the micro-house. This is basically a single-room dwelling with a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area.
1. The Diogene Micro-Unit (Renzo Piano)
It’s actually quite funny! Renzo Piano, the builder of the tallest building in Europe is also the designer of a micro-house that measures only 7.5 sqm. That’s less than 3 x 2.5 meters in size. Can you imagine how can somebody live in such a small space? Nevertheless, the Diogene micro housing unit, which favors simplicity over all worldly luxuries, has everything it needs to provide with comfortable living.
As you can see in the images, the micro-housing unit features all the utilities: a composting toilet, a shower plate, a small kitchen unit, a foldaway desk and chair, a built-in sink and refrigerator. Nevertheless, what makes it truly outstanding is the amount of storage space available throughout the unit.
The most interesting features of this tiny house are the sustainable technologies that are used outside, bellow and above the unit. The roof features a boiler tank, and a few solar panels that provide with electricity and water. Furthermore, the rainwater is collected in a reservoir under the house, filtered, and then pumped in the kitchen and shower.
The Diogene Micro-Unit is big enough to only fit one person. However, this cute micro house can be the perfect choice for a backyard retreat, or unit behind the office. This one-of-a-king living unit was provided by Vitra in 2014.
2. Micro-Student Houses (Tengbom Firm)
Swedish architecture has always been fascinating. The Tengbom firm comes up with one of the most adorable micro-housing unit ideas. This accommodation model manages to squeeze all the needs of a student in a mere 10 sqm. The concept of the project is to create a comfortable micro-house that is both inexpensive, and self-sufficient.
The primary material used is the laminated wood, which is locally sourced. According to architects, this material is environmentally friendly, as it reduces the ecological impact and carbon footprints by 50%. The interior is equipped with a study desk, a swinging lounge, sleeping quarters, a bathroom, a small outdoor patio, a dining area, and a kitchen.
What makes this house smart, are the “built-in features”. The dinning table, for example, fits comfortably into the structure, and it doubles as a window shutter. So does the desk. I absolutely love the tiny interior, and the contrast between lemon green and laminated wood. With this comfortable tiny house, the Tengbom Firm just proves that wood is still a modern material.
Photo-voltaic panels can be added to the house. In terms of insulation, the house’s walls seem more than enough to protect it from low temperatures.
3. Tetris-Like House (Studio Liu Lubin)
The third example is slightly larger than the previous ones, but for a good reason. According to the architects from Liu Lubin studios, the micro-housing unit can be stacked to form a bigger housing suite. This means that the tetris form is not random.
The micro-housing unit successfully provides all the basic living needs: a sitting and sleeping space, and a kitchen area. Furthermore, the shape of the house creates enough shelter and furniture space for resting, washing, working and cooking.
It is constructed with glass fiber and reinforced plastic. These materials are strong, yet lightweight, which means that the tiny house can easily be transported from one place to another. It also has a convenient size to fit in a container.
The three micro housing units presented in our article feature a modern design, and use environmental friendly materials. While modest, micro-houses ensure all the elementary functions for living, and some of them can be transported. If you are looking for a cost-effective home, or holiday house, you might also consider the prefab houses. Have you ever lived in a micro house, or a micro-apartment unit, either permanently or temporarily? Use the comment form below to share your experience!