Tiny Homes

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With the dense urban housing environment within cities continuously growing, many homeowners are downsizing by making the switch from their typical large scale home to one that is much smaller in size. Rapidly gaining popularity around the world, the tiny house movement encourages the construction of homes that are as small as 100-400 square feet compared to the average 2,600 square feet American home. There are a number of reasons why so many people are switching to these smaller houses. One being that it costs far less money and energy to build and maintain. On average it costs about $23,000 to build one of these homes versus $272,000 for a full sized house. Secondly, these homes are environmentally friendly because the amount of resources and energy produce from them results in a smaller amount of footprint created. In addition most of these homes are located within the outdoors and therefore allowing one to reconnect with nature and its surroundings. Lastly, a tiny house is fundamentally different in regards to its functionality due to it’s lack of space which forces one step back and take a more minimalistic approach to living.One downside to living one of these homes is the physical size and the amount of people that it can house. Due to it’s small size, one house can only fit one to two people. This means that families with more than two people will not be able to live in the space.

Tiny homes are a great way to escape from the chaotic city life and experience a more minimalistic lifestyle. However, due to it’s limited amount of space these homes will not be able to cater to families with more than two people.

Nhi Nguyen Blog Post 9

Source:

MacLeod, Finn. “5 Things Architecture Can Learn from the Tiny House Movement.” ArchDaily. N.p., 01 Sept. 2015. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.

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2 comments

  1. lucasewing

    Lucas Ewing – Comment Week #9

    I definitely understand how this movement could be very crucial in reducing building footprint and allowing densification in certain places, but I would have to say I disagree with this movement from an urban city standpoint. One supporting argument I see for the tiny house is best represented in this picture you have chosen, and that’s its connection to nature. In this way I would agree with you that building smaller is a perfectly effective and efficient idea for select people. This makes me think of a typical “shack” that you would see on hunting land or on frozen bodies of water for ice fishing. This would be a perfect fit for the outdoorsman where only the essentials are needed, but not everybody cares to be this close to nature.

    I would ask why this design is any more or less efficient than its urban “counterpart”, the apartment complex? In a dense urban environment, the best way to conserve the land itself is through building upwards instead of outwards. You could build an appropriately sized complex with a large quantity of these 100-400 square foot units on the same amount of land that could host a mere few of these tiny houses.

    Another argument I would pose for this regards the clients at-hand: how many people is this tiny house is being designed for? I could see how one or even two individuals could make due with 400 square feet of living space, in the same way they have studio apartments. However when I think of a house I think of a family, which is several people all in one space. When you start to get multiple people in a space, how could you make 400 square feet adequate? That is where the size of the modern day home is justified in a way, though I agree that 2,600 square foot homes are more than enough to satisfy an average-sized family.

  2. jhkmedeiros

    Re. Tiny Homes
    Jordan Medeiros / Week 10 / Comment 03

    Tiny homes do encapsulate a pleasant and whimsical minimalist quality, however, I agree that the level of functionality of these tiny homes in relation to the greater context do fall short. In terms of your mentioned size drawbacks, I do think the overall concept of a DIY home surrounding tiny homes would allow for additions or changes that would create more space to accommodate families. For instance, IKEA (https://youtu.be/XUx-UYGeaI0) has created a home with enough space to fit a family of four comfortably with privacy in mind.

    In my opinion though, tiny homes primarily fall short when considering the existing residential context and regarding the DIY emphasis. With an increase in movement towards minimizing, what happens to the existing homes movers abandon? If this trend is considered at a large scale, potentially hundreds of thousands of homes are left standing unoccupied. Where does the waste go? Some of the more recyclable materials could be transferred over to the construction of tiny homes, but what happens to the technical supports like water and heating lines? Another aspect of sustainability comes with regards to transit costs. In many instances, tiny homes have to find more remote and unoccupied areas to plot the trailer, making the commute to resources and amenities for residents even greater, thereby likely increasing fossil fuel emissions.

    Secondly, not only is site selection a bit of an issue in placing a tiny home, but existing zoning codes and regulations in many areas do not acknowledge a tiny home as an actual residential structure, thereby making the selection process even more difficult. Certain townships, like those occupied by Jonathan Bellows, requires at least 960 square feet in order for a location to be considered a residence (Business Insider).

    Lastly, with the DIY attitude surrounding tiny homes, many residents make the critical decision to build their homes with average to minimal professional experience. Without precision and careful installation, there is much room for error during the construction process, just as what happened with Kristen Moeller and David Cottrell, forcing them to move out of their tiny home and leave it abandoned (Business Insider).

    While tiny homes are truly innovative and unique spaces, their large-sale incorporation into the existing built context will require not only a shift in building codes and material regulations, but also a greater technical education of those interested in these projects.

    Sources:
    Business Insider http://www.businessinsider.com/five-people-who-abandoned-their-tiny-homes-2015-7

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