Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Micro Houses: Tiny Architecture, Cool Settings

Does everybody spend their time talking about real estate? Or is that just Cooper and me?

One of our favorite topics is the small, sustainable vacation home. Just like the ones Mimi Zeiger features in her book, Micro Green, which was, in turn, featured in this week's Wallpaper email newsletter.

These are a few of my favorites, pulled from the Wallpaper slideshow:
The Flake house was designed by the French company OLGGA Architects. In addition to being cool-looking, it also has a cool function - it's lightweight and portable.

Even though I've seen this partially-obscured-by-planks treatment on way too many houses in Dwell, I find this Canada cabin very appealing.

This house, which spans a creek in Adelaide, Australia, thanks to an elegant, and prefab, trussing system, is the sort of house I dream of owning. Lots of my relatives live or have lived in river communities in or around Annapolis. Property near the river is often messy like this - lots of hills and creeks - and it lends itself to modern architecture. This would be right at home in my grandmother's neighborhood on the South River, or in Epping Forest, on the Severn, where my dad grew up.

This is the Alligator House, by buildingstudio, built as an affordable housing option in post-Katrina New Orleans. It's gotten a lot of press and I like it, both aesthetically and as an affordable option. However, I'm not sure that it fits. Last fall, my sister finished her Masters in Architecture - her thesis focused on post-Katrina development in New Orleans. One of the things I took away from her thesis presentation was that some of the new affordable construction ignores important aesthetic and social traditions in the city. In this case, the house incorporates front steps, which are key socially, but it's definitely a departure from aesthetic tradition. There's room, of course, for new ideas in home design. But I can't help but see "architect-designed!" when I look at this house - and I'm not sure that's what's best for the most affected neighborhoods.

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