Italian architect Renzo Piano has gone from building Europe’s tallest building (the Shard in London) to one of its smallest. Finally completing his career-long dream of building a micro house that only measures 81 sq ft, Piano’s single-occupancy unit has been added to the gardens of the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany. Dubbed “Diogene,” the small structure is named in honor of the Greek philosopher Diogenes of Sinope, who was said to have abandoned all worldly luxuries and conventions for the simplicity of living in a large ceramic jar.
While it’s hard to imagine how a unit that measures 9.8 by 8.2 ft can be big enough to be called a home, the Diogene model provides the simplest of comforts for one person without leaving anything out. The micro home features a living area which comes equipped with a foldaway desk and chair, sofa bed and recessed storage boxes. A separated utilities space features a composting toilet, shower plate and a small kitchen unit with built-in sink and refrigerator.
What really makes this tiny home functional, however, is the amount of storage space. Storage units have been incorporated throughout the entire unit – they are built into the walls, the floors and even the roof. Furthermore, each internal component has been ergonomically designed to occupy the minimum amount of space, and for easy usage.
The Diogene micro-structure is made from a lightweight yet durable shell that can withstand a wide range of temperature variants, including extreme heat and snow storms. The bearing shell has been built using cross-laminated cedar timber panels with a thin aluminum exterior coating, which helps strengthen the structure while also reflecting heat.
A series of sustainable technologies have been put to use outside, above and below the unit, giving the module its off-the-grid status. The roof is fitted with a boiler tank and solar panels, which provide the home with hot water and enough electricity to power the interior LED lights, electric stove and small refrigerator. Rainwater is collected and stored in special containers positioned underneath the house. The water is then filtered, pumped and used for the shower and kitchen.
In addition, the entire cabin has been insulated to keep the interior cozy in winter and cool in summer, and the triple glazed windows (including the large skylight) are all fitted with roller shades. The Diogene home sits just above the ground, so it has very little impact on its surrounding environment and its total weight is just a few tons, thus allowing it to be transported easily, be it by helicopter or truck.
Delightful. And the article mentions in passing where current codes in Europe are headed – and how far behind we are in the US.
I think if I were living alone something approaching this size might be tempting. It certainly would inhibit the accumulation of unneeded stuff.
I love “hair shirt” stories like this. Especially if they’re about someone living nearby. It’s good for a garage sale with everything for free – when they go through this crisis of ownership.
Usually, the dimwit acting out his heroic monkish self-image isn’t even bright enough to sell off his creature comforts.
Many have begun trading in CD, DVD, and book collections for digital music, movies, and e-books. But this trend in digital technology is now influencing some to get rid of nearly all of their physical possessions – from photographs to furniture to homes altogether…
Meet Kelly Sutton, a spiky-haired 22-year-old software engineer with thick-rimmed glasses and an empty apartment in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighbourhood – a hotbed for New York’s young, early adopters of new technology.
Mr Sutton is the founder of CultofLess.com, a website which has helped him sell or give away his possessions – apart from his laptop, an iPad, an Amazon Kindle, two external hard drives, a “few” articles of clothing and bed sheets for a mattress that was left in his newly rented apartment.
This 21st-Century minimalist says he got rid of much of his clutter because he felt the ever-increasing number of available digital goods have provided adequate replacements for his former physical possessions.
“I think cutting down on physical commodities in general might be a trend of my generation – cutting down on physical commodities that can be replaced by digital counterparts will be a fact,” said Mr Sutton…
Mr Sutton sold or gave away most of his assets, apart from his iPad, Kindle, laptop and a few other items
The tech-savvy Los Angeles “transplant” credits his external hard drives and online services like iTunes, Hulu, Flickr, Facebook, Skype and Google Maps for allowing him to lead a minimalist life…
Beaucoup apocrypha fleshes out an article on living the puritan life.
Pretty much tales of folks who think the monastic life brings some sort of liberation. Rather like hitting yourself in the forehead with a ballpeen hammer – “because it feels so good when you stop!”