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The romantic vision of the tiny house seems tied to the idea of eliminating all that’s unimportant and living a simpler more meaningful life. Tiny Houses are often shown in off-the-grid locations, in landscapes that balance the limited indoor space. The tiny house occupant exists both literally and figuratively on the outskirts of society.
Many find it hard to live outside of society, they may seek a simpler life, but prefer all that city living offers. While the cost of land may make the idea of an urban tiny-home seem unrealistic, our project explores this possibility in what we have coined a “Tiny Block” ™.
In hopes of inserting tiny-homes within the density of a small city, we studied the fabric of such a city from block, to street, to individual lot. Typical development of this standard lot (generally 25’ wide by 75’-150” deep) maximizes the zoning potential by building three story 1-3 unit town homes. It is within this typical lot that we would set our Tiny Block™.
City dwellers, accustomed to living in limited space, choose to live in a way that limits the collection of “stuff”. With Bodegas, Restaurants, Laundromats close, urban housing units can be smaller. What the city dweller often yearns for is… home ownership, natural light, private outdoor space, and a parking spot. The Tiny Block™ provides all.
Our Tiny Block™ construction begins on the ground floor where a raised platform running the length of the block/lot, allows for parking, provision of services, and basic storage. MEP services are strategically built within the platform to accommodate plug-in prefabricated homes with footprints of 20’ X 20’.
The homes are not that tiny. A “full-sized” kitchen and bathroom was seen as essential, as was avoiding any sense of claustrophobia. High ceilings were prioritized; doors and windows provide views into neighboring spaces, indoor and out. Natural light is provided in abundance through windows, glass walls and skylights, and each home offers private outdoor space.
The homes serve the same variety of users as the typical 2 bedroom apartment on the standard townhouse lot, but with added flexibility, so that everyone, from single person with a home office, to family of four, with kids sharing a bedroom, is accommodated.
Unique features add to the adaptability of the typical 2 bedroom unit. The homes offer “Murphy Rooms”, with floors that fold down to add additional sleeping rooms at night when the advantage of double height spaces on the first floor aren’t necessary. Another offers a staircase that flips up into the ceiling, clearing an open space for entertaining that extends out into the private garden. A dining table folds out of the wall, and the couch disassembles into three chairs for dining. Walls and doors slide in and up and fold away to separate rooms when function dictates, and skylights lift to provide second floor covered balconies. The public indoor spaces extend out into the outdoors borrowing living space and providing visual release.
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