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Friday, October 4th, 2013

Renzo Piano’s Minimalist Cabin

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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The Vitra campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany is unlike any other – you probably recognize VitraHaus by Herzog & de Meuron:

The latest addition to its architecture collection is Diogene, a minimalist cabin designed by Renzo Piano and The Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW). The house represents a unique partnership between the architect and the furniture company, and makes you wonder just how few square feet you could get by living in.

While known for so many large iconic projects, tiny houses have always been a big interest of Piano’s. The planning of the Diogene, which has a footprint of just 2.4 meters by 2.4 meters, was ten years in the making. When Vitra caught wind of the fact that he needed a partner, they made a big but logical from furniture into the minimalist house market.

While they still play with the idea of if and how to put the very functional little house into production, the prototype sits nestled in the grass on Vitra’s campus. The house collects its own water and supplies its own electricity – you could go completely off the grid in this small home, which has Photovoltaic cells and solar modules, a rainwater tank, a biological toilet, natural ventilation and triple-glazed windows.

The large openings on the roof and the large window open it up, let in the light and make it feel a lot larger than a few dozen square feet, making such small-space living not only tolerable, but comfortable. The sofa folds out into a bed, and there is a tiny bathroom and kitchen inside. The little house can serve as a Thoreau-like retreat, a studio, a guest house or a place to get some solitude and peace just outside of a busy household. It could also be used as emergency housing after natural disasters. I can only hope it’s something we can sell someday!

SHOP ALL VITRA

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Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Rethinking the Garage: A Woman Cave!

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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I am one of those people who looks at a garage and thinks about how to make it livable. However, I have nothing on this woman, who became her own general contractor, raided airplane and boat salvages for parts, built a base for a clawfoot-less tub, and even learned how to weld during the process of making her garage habitable. Check out the entire article and slideshow at The New York Times; it’s really inspiring. I like this idea a whole lot better than the yurt in Alaska thing.

She’s married now and has moved back into the main house, but she’s kept the garage as her woman cave. A garage outfitted for a performance and visual artist differs greatly from that of  a couple of foot-long eating Rush aficionados:

TOTAL SIDE NOTE: Did anyone see the HILARIOUS letter to the editor to the Times about their recent articles – it mentioned the yurt people, the people who never turn on the heat, and some other article – the gist of it was basically “what’s the next trend, igloos?” That’s all I have to go on; I meant to cut it out and to share it with my fellow NYTimes Home readers because it was so funny – if you know where it is, please let me know in the comments section. I think it was published about two months ago.

  • photo from one of the funniest scenes ever, the “Tom Sawyer” montage –  Dreamworks Pictures, I Love You Man
  • photo by Ira Lippke for The New York Times
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