The small house movement is just what it sounds like -- a shift towards people intentionally living in small spaces. Often built to be portable, tiny houses offer a minimum viable living space allowing the occupants to sleep, eat, hang out, and sometimes even work within a footprint that barely exceeds a typical suburban bedroom. The appeal is partly financial (building an entire tiny house can cost less than a few years' rent), but mostly practical -- by living in a small space, you're forced to simplify, and the outdoors becomes your living room.
In this short film, NPR's Science Friday visits one couple living in a 140-square-foot tiny house in Washington state. Keep an eye out for their solar setup -- that's another way to cut down on bills. Best of all? They built the whole thing themselves, despite having no prior construction experience.
A new 3D-printed concrete housing development is coming to the Netherlands in 2019, CNN reports. The structures will be the first habitable 3D-printed concrete houses in the world, according to Project Milestone, the organization behind the initiative.
While architects and engineers have been experimenting with 3D-printed buildings for several years, most of those structures have just been prototypes. The Dutch development, located in Eindhoven, is expected to be ready for its first residents by mid-2019.
Project Milestone is a collaboration between the city of Eindhoven, Eindhoven University of Technology, the contractor Van Wijnen, the real estate company Vesteda—which will own and manage the houses—the engineering consultancy Witteveen+Bos, and the construction materials company Weber Beamix.
Houben and Van Mierlo Architecten
The five planned homes will be built one by one, giving the architects and engineers time to adjust their process as needed. The development is expected to be completed over the next five years.
The housing development won’t look like your average residential neighborhood: The futuristic houses resemble massive boulders with windows in them. The first house, scheduled for completion in 2019, will be a 1022-square-foot, three-room home. It will be a single-story house, though all the rest of the homes will have multiple stories. The first house will be built using the concrete printer on the Eindhoven University of Technology’s campus, but eventually the researchers hope to move the whole fabrication process on-site.
In the next few years, 3D-printed houses will likely become more commonplace. A 3D-printed home in Tennessee is expected to break ground sometime later in 2018. One nonprofit is currently trying to raise money to build a development of 100 3D-printed houses in El Salvador within the next two years. And there is already a 3D-printed office building open in Dubai.
In Eindhoven, residents appear to be fairly eager for the development to open. Twenty families have already applied to live in the first home.
You can learn more about the construction process in the video below.
For many young people in Hong Kong, where space is limited and rent continues to soar, moving out of their parents’ home and into their own apartment remains a pipe dream. But Hong Kong-based architect James Law has his own pipe dream—and it could bring some much-needed affordable housing to the city of 7.3 million.
As spotted by Dezeen, a concept by the architecture firm James Law Cybertecture outlines a plan to construct micro homes out of concrete water pipes. The individual pipe homes could be stacked on top of each other and squeezed into narrow, unused spaces between city buildings.
"OPod Tube Housing is an experimental, low-cost, micro-living housing unit to ease Hong Kong's affordable housing problems," James Law told Dezeen.
Although it's still a concept, an “OPod Tube Housing” prototype built by the firm is homier than you would expect. The tubular-shaped home contains all the basic necessities for cooking, bathing, and sleeping. A bench seat can be converted into a bed, and there’s room for a mini fridge, microwave, suitcase stand, and clothing rack. The glazed door also doubles as a window, and lighting strips and a retractable lamp are also built into the homes.
Hong Kong is one of the most expensive places to live on Earth, and the average resident’s apartment takes up about 150 square feet of space, according to Quartz. Another company in Hong Kong, called Markbox, has been converting shipping containers into micro apartments.
Check out Quartz’s video below to learn more about the OPod Tube Housing design.