Gallery: BOOK REVIEW: Nano House Showcases Contemporary Micro Home Desi...

Sunset Cabin by Taylor Smith Architects

Many homes are set in an idyllic landscape and clearly have been built as retreats, rather than full-time residences - and in fact, Richardson alludes to the vacation home as not being the most sustainable building solution. Alas, the book has only a few primary urban homes, a critical missing link for the wide-spread adoption of low-impact housing. The text also falls into the trap that we are just as guilty of: praising design elements that may be detrimental to the efficiency or livability of a house. For example, the 275 square foot Sunset Cabin in Ottawa will be a nightmare to heat with 3/4 if its wall being glass, and its green roof may retain storm water, but being sited next to a lake, the effect is insignificant.

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1 Comment

  1. jayferm December 5, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I am fascinated by small houses and would love to explore life in a small space. But I have two kids. I have yet to see a tiny house that is suitable for family living.

    I do appreciate Andrew Michler’s comment that small houses tend to be retreats rather than every day living. This factor calls into question the fundamental sustainability that small houses so frequently proclaim.

    If they are used only on weekends and/or a few weeks each year, amortizing their environmental investment takes much longer than a primary dwelling. And one should also count the transportation costs (and time) to and fro the owners’ primary dwelling.

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