With living costs at an all-time high, increasing urban density and greater interest in downsizing and simplifying our lives, the small-house movement has taken reign within the architecture industry.
As our cities become busier, denser and more expensive, the sizes of our homes, too, may inevitably decrease — as may people’s desire to live outside of urban centers. Smaller spaces mean certain things simply will not fit or have to be sacrificed. This provides architects and designers with opportunities to create innovative and precise solutions for the modern-day home.
From little rooftop casas to conceptual minimalist dwellings, these are eight of the most striking tiny homes.
Cabn Jude by Michael Lamprell
Fed up with today’s obsessive pursuit of “things” rather than lived experiences, the cabin’s creator Michael Lamprell set out to design an antidote to what he called a “craziness we’ve brought upon ourselves.”
Designed to provide people with a digital detox, this small, off-grid and eco-friendly cabin in South Australia’s Adelaide Hills allows residents to become re-acquainted with the natural environment surrounding it.
The interior is clad with light-colored wood, which helps to enhance the sense of space. Large windows bring in plenty of natural light, while adjustable windows help keep the cabin cool during the summer months.
Casa Parásito by El Sindicato Arquitectura
San Juan, Ecuador
Andr.s Villota, Paolo Caicedo
More a minimal design object than a house, Casa Parásito accommodates two people on a rooftop in San Juan, Ecuador.
The design concept hinges on an A-frame facade. Within, an interior layout is marked by a rectangular core — also the main living area — from which all other utilitarian spaces, such as the kitchen, dining table, bathroom, bed, work area, and storage are accessed.
A large transparent window allows natural light to filter through into the interior. Orientated toward the north, Casa Parasito opens out to views of the city and the Cotacachi, Imbabura, Mojanda and Cayambe volcanoes.
FLEXSE by SA Lab
St Petersburg, Russia
A modern take on a Scandinavian grill house, FLEXSE is a prefabricated micro-dwelling with an impressive list of seasonal adaptations. Though the first prototype was intended for cooking, it can be tailored for different purposes: a sauna, a guest dwelling, and even a complete tiny house.
Made entirely of recyclable materials, the structure can be assembled in parts on-site or positioned on foundations, allowing it to be set up in remote areas, the countryside or even on water. Its main features include an angled roof to minimize the accumulation of snow, a wood-stripped interior and exterior, and an open grill that warms the space.
San Juan Tiny House by Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses
Colorado, United States
High in the Colorado Mountains, this off-grid home (also pictured top) was built by its occupants, a pair of tiny-house enthusiasts who now live there with their two dogs.
With reclaimed materials used throughout, the home features a wavy roof, art nouveau–inspired French doors and a collapsible front porch featuring a fold-up deck and fold-down awning made from solar panels that tuck into the house when on the move.
Inside, the living area doubles as the primary sleeping area thanks to an elevator bed that can be lowered down at night.
Unyoked by Fresh Prince
New South Wales, Australia
Unyoked is a series of small vacation cabins in Australia’s bush that offer travelers solitude and disconnection from modern life.
Intended to tread as lightly as possible on the landscape, each one has a minimal environmental footprint and incorporates solar power, reclaimed materials (such as re-purposed timber and windows) and outdoor amenities such as picnic tables, gas stoves, and fire pits.
Usually bordering forests, nestled in valleys or planted in the mountains, the cabins are removed from noise pollution and man-made distractions, encouraging occupants to unplug and recharge.
Pod-iDladla by Clara da Cruz Almeida
Johannesburg, South Africa
With a focus on cost-effectiveness, space-saving strategies and adaptability, this transportable home measures just 183 square feet. Manufactured
in South Africa, the home’s name iDladla means “my place” in Johannesburg slang.
This pod can be transported from place to place, or left in one location to be leased out, with possible uses including as a studio space, rented cottage or holiday unit.
Inside, the loft-like layout features a bed on the top level and a kitchen and office space on the bottom. Crisp white walls with pops of color and timber accents ensure that an otherwise tiny space feels warm, open and easy to navigate.
La Colombière by YH2 Architecture
Once used as a storage shed by a lumberjack, a contemporary reimagining of the structure, La Colombière, now serves as an immersive forest retreat.
Inspired by the natural growth of trees, the design philosophy considers the dwelling as inextricably linked to the soil it stands on, resulting in an upper volume reminiscent of tree canopies.
The dark cedar exterior further honors the landscape, paying homage to the surrounding conifers. Inside, the soaring ceiling and walls are painted white, while materials from the original building are retained and uninterrupted, emphasizing the new structure as an extension rather than an insertion.
Glasshouse Treehouse by ElevenTwoEleven Design
New York, United States
The Glasshouse Treehouse is a DIY project by interior designer Christina Salway, who artfully captures and reinterprets the charm of a greenhouse in New York’s verdant Catskill Mountains.
Aiming to create a “patchwork quilt” of collected, gifted and found pieces, Salway salvaged windows discarded on street corners and rescued cast-offs from antique stores. She also approached friends and family to donate any unwanted or unused doors and windows.
This design offers panoramic views of the countryside and, while only taking up a very small space, the treehouse’s interior unravels into three zones: a work area, a sleeping area and a lounge.