“We are facing an enormous problem in our lives today. It’s so big we can hardly see it, and it’s right in our face all day, every day. We’re living too big lives, crammed from top to toe with activities, urgencies, and obligations that seem absolute. There’s not time to take a breath, no time to look for the source of the problem. We are almost desperate for a solution.” - Sarah Susanka from The Not So Big Life: Making Room for What Really Matters
Every year MA (Modern Atlanta) hosts the Modern Atlanta Home Tour – which leads modern design connoisseurs on a self-guided tour around some newly finished modern homes in the Atlanta, Ga area. Last year was my first year going to a few, not all, of the homes. While I enjoyed many of the homes I toured, there was one in particular that stood out in my mind in terms of its scale, unassuming street presence and thoughtful interiors.
Clark and Zook architects renovated a four-bedroom home to meet the needs of a young family with children. What I really enjoyed about this home was the scale – I wasn’t able to tour all homes, but this one felt good – like a great place for making memories. My favorite moment in this home (unfortunately not shown in the below photographs) was the carved out space for a child to play. While this home wasn’t overly slick with ultra-modern detailing, the home felt…well, good.
This project makes a case for the small in terms of its scale, physical footprint and the fact that it was a renovation project. Small homes are ecological not only in terms of their size, but in their use of existing building systems and materials. Below are a few projects (realized and ideas) of small homes that can be viewed only in terms of their design (if you wish) – but go further to influence a sustainability that has an impact greater than its visual presence:
Alpine Hut, OFIS Arhitekti, Stara Fuzina, Slovenia (1,130 sq. ft):
small features: stone and wood sourced locally, thermal insulation is placed between wood cladding (black foil is put behind the wood to absorb solar heat), rain water collected through vertical pipes which are inserted into wood beams.
Joshua Tree, Hanger Design Group, Mobile (387.5 sq. ft.):
small features: recyclable/reusable sheets of titanium and zinc, skylights provide natural light and ventilation, wood used to keep inside warm
beautifully small spaces, great ideas!