IKEA’s Modular Tiny Home Design Costs Less Than US$10,000 And Is Open-Source
By Yoon Sann Wong, 13 Sep 2018
Over the years, tiny homes have grown increasingly popular not only as an affordable solution to rising housing costs, but also as an advocate for simpler living, where occupants reside comfortably through clever space-saving interior designs and architecture.
These values tie in closely with what IKEA stands for, which is why it comes with little surprise that the Swedish furniture giant is venturing into this home living genre to meet its growing demand.
Through a six-month residency project at its Copenhagen-based future-living lab called SPACE10, IKEA challenged Danish architecture students Johanne Holm-Jensen and Mia Behrens to design a versatile abode using as few materials and at as low a cost as possible.
The result is a 49-square-meter tiny home prototype that costs US$9,400. Under this ‘Building Blocks’ project, the duo managed to develop a micro home that can either be transported at a low cost or downloaded and built anywhere in the world. Since the design is open-source, anyone can use it, modify it, and share it.
The house can be erected using the widely available and cost-efficient CNC milling machine with just FSC-certified plywood, which is a ubiquitous building resource. Due to its modular capabilities, homeowners can customize the design according to their needs.
In a post on Medium, the students shed light on the creative process and highlighted “honest” architecture, saying, “To this end we chose to expose the construction, so that everything from the bearing columns to the joists under the floor to the rafters supporting the ceiling is visible.”
“With Building Blocks, builders can adapt a new space to suit almost every situation or surroundings. Moreover, they can always transform it later, to meet new needs, by removing or adding new pieces — almost as easily as disassembling or re-assembling IKEA furniture.”
Despite the achievements, Holm-Jensen and Behrens note that the tiny home still faces a major challenge: water.
Since plywood is infamous for being non-resistant to water, all of its exterior surfaces have to be coated and protected with tar. Furthermore, drainage within the prototype remains poor due to the absence of an incline for its horizontal assemblies.
At present, ‘Building Blocks’ remains in its experimental phase while the pair awaits for manufacturers of sheet materials to come up with more sustainable solutions.
Until then, IKEA continues to work on the prototype that could potentially branch out to more accessible and affordable housing alternatives. Who knows, perhaps in the near future you might be able to flat-pack tiny homes, similar to how you currently flat-pick IKEA’s furniture.
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Have you checked out https://building-blocks.io yet? You'll find more about the protoype and our explorations—and get to experience @norgramstudio 's web design magic. Rendering: @mia_behrens & @johanneholmj #SPACE10 #BuildingBlocks #opensourcedesign #digitalfabrication
A post shared by SPACE10 (@space10_journal) on
Johanne Holm-Jensen (left) and Mia Behrens (right)
[via Digital Trends and Medium, images via Building Blocks]
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