Students Develop A Tiny Home Bio-habitat To Remedy The Affordable Housing Crisis

The 350-square-foot home is intended as a cost-efficient and eco-friendly alternative to other types of housing.

Credit: cityLAB

Credit: cityLAB

Regardless of one’s age, the idea of buying an affordable house is a daunting task to say the least. Especially in urban areas where real estate prices have escalated in recent years, it seems an almost impossible chore to find suitable housing within one’s budget.

But thanks to a team of students and faculty at UCLA College’s cityLAB, an “accessory dwelling”  that could potentially be built in many families’ backyards might soon become the affordable housing alternative many have been seeking.

Credit: cityLAB

Credit: cityLAB

Credit: cityLAB

Credit: cityLAB

After the mayor of Los Angeles declared intention for the city to build an additional 100,000 housing units by 2021, the team at cityLAB decided to address the city’s affordable housing shortage and get to work.

As can be seen in the pictures, the BI(h)OME is a lightweight, inexpensive shelter designed to promote local biodiversity by providing shelter for various species of birds, butterflies, and bats. It is built out of a steel pipe frame, and can be mounted on top of a simple, Gabon foundation made out of wire-caged rock (not visible in the photos).

Credit: cityLAB

Credit: cityLAB

Credit: cityLAB

Credit: cityLAB

The wooden-framed walls support the structure (some of the walls can be transformed into edible vertical gardens), and a double-layered skin made out of ETFE (a durable, recyclable plastic) envelops the building. A series of cut-paper cylinders are inserted between the layers of plastic.

Credit: cityLAB

Credit: cityLAB

The school shares that photovoltaics can be printed on the outside layer while LED lighting can be installed on the inside. That’s not all: fully constructed, the tiny home would come with a kitchen, foldable bed, a grey-water recycling system, and a composting toilet. In addition, the structure could be supplied with water via a garden hose, so no city hookup would be necessary.

Credit: cityLAB

Credit: cityLAB

According to the team, the 350-square-foot home is intended as a cost-efficient and eco-friendly alternative to other types of housing.

“The environmental impact of the structure over its entire life cycle is between ten and 100 times less than a conventional auxiliary dwelling. The BI(h)OME demonstrates – in its design, fabrication, occupation and recycling – what sustainability means at a personal level.”

Credit: cityLAB

Credit: cityLAB

Is this sustainable, tiny bio-habitat the solution for those seeking affordable housing? While the innovative concept poses an interesting living situation between humans and nature, its greenhouse-like design might be a turn-off for some who like the finer things in life.

We’d love to hear your thoughts; share in the comments section below!

Learn more at BI(h)OME and cityLAB.


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