Tengbom Micro Dorms

College and high school students are embracing the tiny house concept with gusto. One of the leading architecture firms in Sweden is right behind them with a series of affordable, portable micro dorms that are also environmentally friendly. The “10 smart square” dorms are only 107 square feet, but feature lofts, kitchen, living and dining areas and an interesting use of cross laminated wood.

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Tengbom Architects is working in collaboration with wood manufacturer Martinsons, real estate company AF Bostäder and Lund University in Sweden to develop sustainable and smart housing for students. The first unit was on display in the Virserum Art Museum in 2013 and this year there will be 22 units available for students to move in.

Cross laminated timber is an engineered wood building system designed to complement light- and heavy-timber framing options. Because of its high strength and dimensional stability, it can be used as alternative to concrete, masonry and steel in many building types. The process is popular in Europe and is growing in availability in the U.S. The benefits are fast installation, reduced waste and improved thermal performance.

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The units are made from cross laminated wood and are assembled on site. Each contain a sleeping loft accessed by wall-mounted stairs, laminated furniture, shelving and even a laminated kitchen counter. Each unit has a tiny bathroom/shower combo and strategically placed windows for light and privacy. The rent for these units will be about 50 percent less than larger dorm rooms on campus.

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Tengbom is one of the leading architectural firms in Sweden and the Nordic region, with around 500 employees at twelve offices in Sweden and Finland.  Since 1906, Tengbom has combined innovative and holistic design for present and future generations. Their additional designs include architecture, landscaping, lighting and historic building conservation.

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Photos courtesy of Tengbom Architects

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

Y:Cube Housing

With rising home prices and rent, the United Kingdom is going through its own housing crisis and tiny house concepts are beginning to pop up like mushrooms around the sovereign state. One concept is now being created by the YMCA in partnership with the architectural firm, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and was originally inspired by colorful beach huts.

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The YMCA, known for fostering community and offering accommodations for lower income individuals and budget travelers, has come up with their own tiny prefab house. The Y:Cube is a self-contained unit that can be lived in individually or in a modular “plug and play” system. Imagine working house models that look like LEGO blocks. Each cube is 280 square feet and contains one bedroom with a double bed, a living area with a small, modern kitchen, a workspace and a lounging area. The tiny bathroom is connected to the bedroom and contains a toilet, sink and shower.

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The portable, durable cubes are built using reinforced panels fixed to a renewable timber frame inside a factory. Water, heating and electrical components are built right in. The completed cubes are then assembled into two or three story blocks in a courtyard formation.

A set of 35 Y:Cubes will be built on property owned by the YMCA and offered for sale for around $50,000 (£30,000). They can also be rented for about £140 a week. The YMCA is creating the Y:Cube to be developed and financed by a range of housing providers.

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Photos courtesy of Y:Cube

 

By Christina Nellemann for [Tiny House Blog]

Seattle aPodments

Cash strapped minimum wage workers and students in the Seattle area are seeking and welcoming more affordable housing in their city, but the explosion of the aPodment micro housing units in Seattle is drawing new criticism in this dense metropolitan area. City officials are claiming that these 200 square feet tiny units are unregulated and skirt the city’s building laws.

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Photo by Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times

Many of the aPodments built by Calhoun Properties offer downtown amenities like private bathrooms and kitchenettes, lofts, security, private decks, access to public transportation, skylights, granite countertops and shared amenities like BBQs, roof decks and ADA accessible group kitchens. Some of these tiny spaces also come with furniture and utilities paid all for around $500-$750 a month. All this in a city where rent prices are around $1,200 a month.

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The city is concerned that these more condensed forms of housing, which only require a building permit, increase the density of a neighborhood but don’t provide additional parking. They are also concerned that there is no design review before construction and have asked for a short-term moratorium on building these types of units until they can decide how to regulate them.

Micro-housing developers defend these units by stating that many people who live in downtown areas want to be closer to public transportation, shops and city amenities, but don’t want to pay higher rental prices. The idea has become so popular, that other units are being planned in Portland, Ore., California and New Jersey.

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Photos by aPodments/Calhoun Properties

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]