Iconic, efficient Warburg House cost less than $100K

Canadian design studio Bioi recently completed this compact home in Warburg, Alberta after being given the challenge to create a contemporary and energy-efficient home for under US$100,000. The result is a simple, open and sustainable home, with a reduced space that holds all of the functionality of a regular sized home. “Working alongside our client, we determined the true necessity of the space that they required,” project architect Jordan Allen told Gizmag. “Throughout the design phase redundant spaces were eliminated, and non-inhabitable spaces were pushed to an absolute minimum.”

Without losing the sense of open space the home has been squeezed into an interior space of 576 sq.ft.. “While the home may be of a size what many people would generally attribute to a cabin or ‘weekend’ home, it maintains the spatial proportions that are ample and comfortable enough to accommodate two people,” Allen told us…

The exterior of the building is protected by black corrugated steel sheets, which extend the full length of the house. Several windows and skylights have been included to allow natural light to filter in from the southern exposure, while also providing views of the surrounding natural landscape.

In keeping with its small proportions, the mechanical room takes up a mere 18 sq ft (1.7 sq m) and the kitchen has been reduced to nothing more than the purely functional. The building’s compact size greatly minimizes the heating load on the home, which is supplied via radiant in-floor heating. In addition, a heat recovery ventilator has been added to capture and reuse as much heat as possible. The heating system is also coupled with heavy insulation (R40 in the ceiling, R32 in the walls) supplying the house with “one of the highest EnerGuide ratings possible due to its reduced energetic demands,” according to Allen…

Efficiency needs to be affordable if we truly want to pursue an ecologically minded future,” concluded Allen “And no one said it can’t have some style at the same time.”

My wife and I lived in a similar space as well designed when first we were married. Only the addition of dogs sharing the space – and one or another changes in family relationships moved us over into the main house – keeping the original space as a guest house.

In practice, we don’t live in much more space than the original design. More than one room in the main house remains unused except for unheated storage.

I think Allen’s concept is right on the money.

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