Doing PodShare Tiny Hotel the Right Way

Airbnb has shown us there is an unending supply of unusual places you can stay, and PodShare in Southern California is one of them. I’ve slept in various “cube” hotels before including a Japanese capsule in Tokyo and a Yotel pod in London, but PodShare is melding together tiny spaces, affordability and community. Elvina Beck opened the PodShare co-living space three years ago and has since hosted over 4,000 “Podestrians”. She said the concept is perfect for minimalist, solo travelers who also want to meet new people. The design of the pods make them different from a typical hostel.

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“I grew up on MTV’s The Real World and thought: what would happen if you put 10 strangers under one roof with technology to keep them busy, but with no privacy to help them stay engaged?,” Elvina said. “PodShare was built to answer that question. I wanted to create a comfortable and safe environment for people to sleep without putting up walls.”

Instead of individual bunk beds like in a hostel, each pod is build like a separate shipping container divided by carpeted stairways. Each pod contains a memory foam mattress, a personal TV, electrical outlets, adjustable nightlight, and a closet with a locker. The pods were built to face each other and each Podestrian can personalize their pod with their name. Guests are provided with a towel, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo and WiFi. They also have access to the community kitchen, bathroom, shower, and the computer station. The pods do not close up at night, but the top pods do have safety rails.

“We actually created more privacy than a traditional bunk bed, without closing the face like a Japanese capsule,” Elvina said.

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“When I was laying out the floor plan for PodShare,  I considered building the pods in a circle, so to not box people out, but then opted for rows like displays,” Elvina said. “This layout gives people an opportunity to horizontally work on their laptops, put their backs against the wall, hang their feet over the balcony to face the person across from them, or sit on the steps.”

Eight single pods are available for $50 a night and two queen size pods are available for $70 a night. Elvina said she will explore long-term housing in an additional location and will plan for more drawer space in the pods. Her goal is to build a network of PodShare locations across the country to offer membership-based housing. Guests would pay a monthly rental fee to travel to different pods.

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House, bike and car sharing is now the norm and PodShare also promotes the sharing of common resources—with some personalization. Each Podestrian gets a lifetime pod number and a profile is opened for each guest.

“Since day one, we have created a profile for each guest—sharing a time capsule online helps us get to know the guest and helps the guest realize that they are more than a unique number,” Elvina added. “We believe in the sharing of space, stories, affordability… and curing the ever-growing world loneliness problem. I believe this type of minimalist social travel will inspire innovation and promote openness and discovery.”

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Photos and video courtesy of PodShare

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]