Photos by Daniela Kleint
What are the limits of architecture? Those same limits that define the home, which, as the world’s smallest house proves, need not be greater than one square meter. Designed by Van Bo Le-Metnzel, a native of Laos and one time refugee, the “One-Square-Meter House” was inspired by his personal history and those experiences that led him to explore the architecture of home.
The house is easy to assemble and can be fabricated using everyday materials from the local hardware store. Yet despite its humble stature and simple fame, the structure is surprisingly flexible: when positioned upright, there is sufficient room for the (sole) user to stand or sit at a desk to read or stare out into the landscape beyond. Tilted on its side, the house becomes a sleeping capsule, with the inside face of the tiny gable folding up to support the user’s reclined body. The “hut” was designed to be used indoors or outdoors and whose exact function is never fixed to any place or time (the house is fixed with wheels, which makes it entirely mobile and easy to roll away). It can take the form of a study, office, doghouse, or even an spare bedroom.
Le-Metnzel, architect and founder of Hartz IV Möbel, conceived of the diminutive house in collaboration with Corinne Rose of Berlin’s BMW Guggenheim Lab, which recently hosted a workshop to encourage Berliners to take part in the production of these new homes. The prototype is currently in production, with duo hoping to market the pods on a global scale.
The Lab ends its Berlin run on July 29th, but before then it will make the homes available to students and travelers for a mere €1/night, and can be rented on Air BnB. Afterward, the project will go on a six year tour around the world, with stops in Mumbai and New York City to bring the 1-square-meter revolution to an overcrowded world.