The lifePOD – Modern, Modular, Prefabricated Nano-Home

The INDAWO / lifePOD is a modular, prefabricated nano-home which is designed and manufactured in South Africa. Each is made off-site, to specific client specification, allowing one to start simply with a shell or to go for a full-on kitted out interior or somewhere in-between. Several 17-square-meter unit can be positioned in various configurations to form larger, multi-use living areas.” – POD / indawo.

Learn more about The lifePOD. Photos by Brett Rubin via POD / indawo.

Insulated Weekend Cabin in South Africa

Gavin Rooke isn’t an architect or a professional builder; he’s not the sort who figures he can frame up a small weekender and move in in six weeks’ time. But that didn’t keep the 41-year-old Johannesburg art gallerist from taking up a T-square and hammer in 2004 to start work on a 330-square-foot weekend house in tiny Deneysville on the Vaal Dam.” – Dwell

Read more about this Insulated Weekend Cabin in South Africa

Safmarine Container Sports Center by Tsai Design Studio

Here’s a single container building used as a sports center that could easily be a small home. I really like the second metal roof. Shipping containers are water tight but a second roof like this can keep it cooler on hots days and help lengthen the building’s life.

‘safmarine container sports center’ is a recycled shipping container transformed into a communal athletic space in piketberg, south africa by cape town-based tsai design studio.

via tsai design studio: safmarine container sports center.

Image credit to Tsai Design Studio.

Rooftop Trailer Park

OK… this is just weird, but I like it. It’s a cluster of seven Airstream trailers on the roof of the Grand Daddy Hotel in South African. While this kind of turns my stomach a little I must admit I like the idea of extending habitable space but using small modular units. I would just prefer to see it extending habitable space for people who need it and not more luxury rooms in an expensive hotel… but then I’m weird that way. Rooftop Trailer Park

A House for Khayelitsha – Update

I posted an update of the design for A House for Khayelitsha on Tiny House Design. It measures 16′ by 16′ (5 meters by 5 meters), has a sleeping loft, and simple passive solar design. The structure is made up of simple 2×4 and plywood panels.

I’m working to finish the plans quickly so that the house could be built, assuming it meets all their requirements. I’ll also publish the plans online in case anyone else wants to build this simple prefab solar house.

A House for Khayelitsha – Update

A House For Khayelitsha

Over the weekend I was contacted by a fellow named Neville Montgomery, a business owner in Cape Town, South Africa. He owns a high-end retail store in downtown Cape Town and has an employee that came to him asking if he had any spare plastic tarp she could use on her house to keep the water out.

Neville contacted me just looking for ideas on solutions so I gave him all the information I could think of and I’m now in the process of designing a tiny panelized house that is four times larger than the homeless shelter I designed last week. It will measure 16′ by 16′ (5m by 5m) and be made of 4′ by 8′ panels. Neville will be using all new building materials but wants a house that can be assembled and disassembled by the women that will live there. The house will also feature a sleeping loft, simple grey water system, rain water collection system, composting toilet, shower, kitchen, and a passive solar design.

If the design meets their needs and can be built within their small budget the house will be set-up in Khayelitsha, an informal housing community of two million people just outside Cape Town. Informal housing communities have a long history in South Africa which is better read about on wikipedia than explained here. In a nutshell they are incredibly diverse communities with every type of small house from cardboard shacks to concrete government built homes. Some have plumbing and power but many do not.

In a few days I’ll post the plans on Tiny House Design for feedback and hopefully generate more good ideas for making the house functional, simple to build, and low cost. If you’d like to learn more about communities like Khayelitsha here are some resources.

Update: I’ve posted a preview of the house design at Tiny House Design.