The dream of owning a suburban home with a white picket fence in the suburbs is becoming a distant reality. Home ownership is becoming increasingly difficult due to housing crises, homelessness, mounting debt, and downsizing. These forces are reflected in the tiny house movement. Cities and designers are asking whether micro-dwellings can address pressing problems or glorify unhealthy living conditions.

Tiny houses were a popular topic on ArchDaily in 2018, growing 75% from the previous year. It also ranked first on our list for trends that will affect architecture in 2019. As a result of a shrinking housing stock, architects are confronted with many questions. This movement is intrinsically tied to changing attitudes regarding privilege, wealth, and materialism. Both urban and rural areas are seeing a rise in tiny living. The debate about tiny homes is ongoing because there are many definitions and often tied to local housing markets.

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Tiny homes can be illegal in certain areas, as they come in many sizes. Tiny houses can be difficult to regulate in the United States. States may consider them unwelcome forms of residence. Tiny houses are considered to be somewhere between mobile homes and camper vans. These tiny houses can range from micro-apartments to office space and cabins on wheels. According to the International Code Council, a house must be less than 400 square feet to qualify as “tiny”. There are two types of tiny homes: stationary or mobile (on wheels).

Although there are many issues, tiny homes can offer a variety of benefits. They provide mobility and a minimal lifestyle, as well as lower costs than traditional single-family homes. Are they able to address urban inequality or meet the needs of a growing population? These articles examine the tiny house movement, and what these questions might lead to.

Tiny Luxury: What Are “Tiny Houses’ Really Saying About Architecture?

© Roderick Aichinger

A startup company called Getaway recently launched its service to New Yorkers after a successful pilot launch in Boston. Customers can rent a selection of tiny houses in rural settings north of New York. The prices start at $99 per night. The service was created by Jon Staff, a Harvard University business student, and Pete Davis, a Harvard law student. They were inspired to create the company after discussing the housing issues and new ways to house the next generation. The idea to bring Tiny House living to urbanites was born from these discussions.

5 Things Architecture can Learn from the Tiny House Movement

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The global economy is becoming more uncertain and homeowners are finding creative ways to save money on essential housing spaces. Worldwide, the tiny house movement is gaining ground. It encourages construction of small homes up to 150 square feet (14 m2). Many smaller housing models are popping up every day. Tiny houses can be home to all ages and are now more popular than the Airstream trailers of decades ago.

Tiny-House villages: Safe Havens For The Homeless

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Tiny-house villages are becoming more popular as smart housing solutions. They offer shelter for the homeless and a glimpse into the future of housing. Is Tiny-House Villages the Solution to Homelessness? Tim Murphy takes a close look at the controversial communities and their political and social ramifications. Murphy interviews residents from several tiny-house villages to examine the impact they have on homeless people in major American cities. He also questions the future of the village’s lifestyle. You can read the entire article here.

Micro-Architecture: 40 Big Ideas For Small Cabins

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Despite their simplicity, small cabins are a welcomed design challenge. In order to maximize the use of limited spaces, scale, materiality, and habitability must all be considered. The 16m2 Le Corbusier-designed cabanon, which measures 16m2, is perhaps the most well-known example of cabin design. It was a container for ideas that allowed the Swiss architect to explore the “modulor”, which is an understanding of the fundamentality and human scale. Many prominent architects have explored cabin design over the past half century, often both experimentally and as a simple refuge in harmony with a natural setting.