Micro House: Maxi Cool, Minimal Impact

Tiny houses? So passe! The micro house is the sustainable dwelling of the future. Here’s why

By Jody McCutcheon

In a land where space is scarce and people are plentiful, a micro house seems like an ideal solution to the challenges of carving out individual living space. And that’s especially true if you live in one of the world’s most populous countries.

So no wonder Studio Liu Lubin of Beijing has designed a habitation structure that can be faithfully described as several rooms in one. Its guiding principle is the consolidation of function. Meet the micro house.

micro house

Flexible Forms

The architectural concept relies on minimal space requirements for basic indoor activities like sitting, laying down and standing. The micro house’s form acts as either furniture (chair or bed) or architecture (wall or ceiling). In one position, the micro house is a sleeping area. Rotate the structure and it turns into a sitting area, or a washroom, or a workshop, etc. And no matter the orientation, the ceiling always offers enough headroom.

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Just as neat is the fact that the Micro-house can be utilised as a single, multi-functional room, or it can be stacked together with other micro houses. They kind of act like Tetris pieces, to create a larger house, or even a small neighbourhood of sorts.

The structure is made mostly of a light but durable glass-fibre-reinforced composite structure. In other words, it’s basically plastic. And new plastic, at that. So unfortunately, the house is not as eco as it should be. On the bright side, it can easily be lifted and assembled by hand. Plus, a single unit will fit comfortably into a transport container, thus facilitating transportation.

 

micro house

micro house

A Sense Of Home

Perhaps most importantly, owning a micro house is one of the few ways the Chinese can own a private home under that country’s present land policy. As we luckier folks here in the West know, the sense of home ownership is vital to our sense of security, privacy and overall well being.

However, there are a couple of pragmatic questions that this journalist couldn’t get answered. For example: how do electricity and other power sources connect to the house? Does the structure include well-ventilated cooking space? Can solar panels be fitted to the structure? And what about water mains and sanitation?

Additionally, while this micro house concept might be attractive as, say, a single-living unit in a forest or on a beach, the notion of these being stacked up to create entire villages (as pictured below) is nothing short of dystopian. When gathered in this manner, the micro house seems to be nothing more than a hive for humans.

Nonetheless, the concept of the micro house offers a lot of potential in an increasingly crowded world.

All images: Studio Liu Lubin of Beijing

Jody McCutcheon
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