Elements and the Tiny House Movement

The Tiny House Movement, according to Wikipedia, is “a description for the architectural and social movement that advocates living simply in small homes”. In a broad perspective, the movement could be seen as an answer to materialism and overconsumption on one side and the desire for sustainability and self-sufficiency on the other side. Tiny houses come in all shapes and sizes, although typically under 50 square meters (538 ft2) of living space. Lately the moving is getting widespread attention from all over the world, but also from the Netherlands. Multiple Dutch cities present themselves as the tiny house capital of the Netherlands, including the city of Almere.

Liberated Living

In February 2016, the municipality of Almere launched an idea contest called “Liberated Living. Your Tiny House in Almere!“, open for the general public to participate. Participants were asked to design an innovative, sustainable, affordable and practically viable tiny house. At the same time, the city also designated three construction sites for permanent, temporary and pioneering (self-sufficient) tiny houses. From over 240 designs and plans that came in the following months, only 25 were selected in July 2016. The winners, mostly consisting of architects and researchers, got the opportunity to realize their plans on the designated sites in Almere’s newly developed borough Almere Poort.

Almere also planned a tiny house exposition in the fall of 2017, called BouwEXPO, where the built tiny houses will be exhibited and presented to the public.

Slim Fit

One of the winners of the contest, renowned architect Ana Rocha, designed a great three-floors tiny house she dubbed “SLIM FIT“, a smart and slim house of 49.2 square meters (530 ft2) gross floor area that proofs that living spacious and characterful is possible within a minimal footprint. The building is a slim, but fully fledged house that takes up little space with only 16.4 square meters (177 ft2) footprint. The flexible design is applicable in many situations, as a detached house, linked together or between existing buildings.

Late 2016 we came in contact with Ana and after a few meetings we started a great collaboration to get the very first Slim Fit tiny house constructed on the permanent tiny house site in Almere Poort, about 3 kilometers from the Elements Almere office.

The current status (early March 2017) is that the construction plans are to be submitted to the city government to get the required building permit. Meanwhile all sorts of other things are in progress, such as the cone penetration test, advise on the installations and the finishing touches of the design.

But why?

You may ask why Elements, a company that normally only deals with software development, is building a tiny house. Besides that it’s cool and innovative we have a few very good reasons: We were looking for high-quality living space for new employees coming from abroad that need a temporary home after moving to the Netherlands. Also our Spanish colleagues that come over regularly may find good use of the nearby home.

In addition, we plan to equip our tiny house with all sorts of home automation so the building will serve as a real-life test lab for our IoT adventures — think of connected home applications, smart heating, smart appliances, off the grid experiments, etc.

We’ll keep you updated on the construction process, here on the Elements blog!

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Originally published at www.elements.nl on March 7, 2017.