Greentelligence on the Home Front

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Tiny Green homes that balance small size with smart choices are here to satisfy home buyers looking for low-cost, environmentally-friendly dwellings. “Consumers in general want a home that is cozier, more organized and more economical in terms of operating costs,” said Stacy Rogers in Home Buying Trends in 2010. Here are two examples of great design by architects who used their big brains to create winsome small spaces.

Gary Chang’s “Domestic Transformer” is the acme of cozy, organized and energy-efficient.

Through intelligent design and craftsmanship, Chang, an architect and homeowner, turned his 330 square foot Hong Kong apartment into a multipurpose miracle. Moveable screens and built-ins can be arranged in different ways to create a total of 24 distinct rooms. The result is a home that’s comfortable, commodious and ultra-hip. Watch the video and marvel at the man’s brilliance.

While Cheng’s design is a sharp departure from the soft curves and natural materials that characterize “Santa Fe style,” the creative intelligence that spawned it is not.  Size and architectural design committee restrictions may prevent such homes in many communities, but what about for apartments and condos?  Could we riff off these ideas to create affordable housing for Santa Fe?

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If you thought 330 square feet was small, check out the work of Derek Diedricksen. Diedricksen was profiled (February 23th, 2010) in the New York Times by Joyce Wadler. The article, entitled  The $200 Microhouse, showcases the architect’s talent for weaving scavenged materials and ingenuity into super-tiny wonders.  Although limited in comforts and practicality, the little domiciles are as inspiring as their maker. You’ve got to admire the innocent moxie of a man who, when asked what a construction he was asked to make for The Homeless was called said, “The $100 Homeless Hut…I made up the name right now.” High on imaginative drive, low on pretense –just like a kid.

Check out one sample, “The Hickshaw,” a so-called Rickshaw for Hicks, at TinyYellowHouse.com. Or the “Gypsy Junker.”  Forgive the not-so-PC titles. This guy is onto something and offers his ideas with wry good-humor and, in Wadler’s words,  “ingenuity, thrift and charm.”

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