With the overcrowding of cities, in the last several years, architects and home owners are increasingly looking for innovative, and flexible, housing solutions that require less space. Today, tiny living is a growing trend in architecture, and has in fact become more of a lifestyle choice than anything else. Previously, we talked about the wonderful Transforming Castle Truck that brings fantasy and convenience under the same roof. This time around, two Polish students have come up with the design for a community of expandable micro homes that can be moved around on railway tracks.
Dubbed as Small House on Tracks, the miniature dwelling is part of a plan that aims at transforming an old, once-bustling shipyard, in Gdańsk, into a modern commune for the city’s growing artistic population. Designers Tomasz Zablotny and Paweł Maszota, currently studying architecture at the Gdańsk University of Technology, have re-imagined the nearly-abandoned shipyard, with its existing railway tracks, as the site for a series of ingeniously-built tiny mobile houses. Speaking about the project, Zablotny said:
Our idea is to create and modulate a transformable housing complex so that a certain part of the post-industrial area would always be a liveable and comfortable space for artists, interns, workers or simply those to whom the unique atmosphere of the site would appeal. It’s meant to be an initiative that brings back everyday life to the area, making it liveable during festivals and exhibitions, but also on a day-to-day basis.
Constructed primarily from steel and laminated wood, each of these houses would measure no more than 2 x 1.5 x 2.5 m (approx. 6.56 x 4.92 x 7.97 ft), when unoccupied. Its compact size would make for easy transportation, either on the back of a large truck or to be pushed around on the rail tracks. When stationary, the unit can be expanded, along its length, by an extra 1 m (or 3.2 ft). The designer said:
Units can be easily relocated or reorganized according to changing occasions and needs. This provides maximum efficiency – only as many units as needed are used, while the rest is easily transported to a warehouse.
The tiny home boasts an elegant, yet minimalist, interior, featuring a shower and bathroom space, a small kitchenette, with a retractable countertop table, and a sofa that can be turned into a bed. Given the limited floorspace, the furniture are mostly foldable and can even be packed right into the walls, as a way of optimising the available area. A wide skylight offers sufficient natural lighting, during the day, while a set of roof-based solar panels helps power the house at other times. Zablotny was reported saying:
The shipyard landscape has become a very attractive district in recent years, and many cultural events of local and international scale are organised here. Our units would provide temporary housing for people actively participating in the future life of the zone. It has been used as an art colony before, where art students from Gdańsk had their studios and rooms in the old buildings. So we saw an opportunity for bottom-up interventions on the site.