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On the inside the QB1 is 3x3x3 meters, about 97 square feet. It was designed to generate at least as much electricity as it uses, making it energy-positive. In fact the designers estimate this house, with its 1.48 kW roof mounted photovoltaic system, would pay the owner £1000 per year in FiT income. FiT is the UK Government’s Feed-In Tariff program, which pays an incentive for producing energy from renewable sources.

I requires a grid connection to feed energy back to the grid and a water source. It needs no sewer connection. Waste is either composted or processed on site in a small reed-bed and soak-away.

This is the first prototype of the QB1 and it’s on display at St Andrew’s Square, Edinburgh, as part of the Edinburgh Science Festival. The Cube Project is the creation of Dr Mike Page.

Read more at Jetson Green.

Cube construction from Mike Page on Vimeo.

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I was researching ideas for my own home office cube design and ran across this garden workspace on materialicious. It is located in Chile and was designed by architects Claudio Labarca and Juan Ignacio Lopez. The interior space measures 5 by 7 meters which is about 375 square feet.

I’m really impressed with the wood shutters that provide privacy and shade during hot days. When closed or open they make a strong design statement and provide a geometric exterior texture. I also like that the owner has a choice of direct or filtered light.

It’s really interesting to see how many different ways designers play with simple rectangular forms. Simple details really make all the difference in form and function. Read more about this design at Plataforma Arquitectura. Here is the English translation. Photo credit to Giuseppe Bruculleri and Maria Paz Lobos.

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Julia and I have decided last weekend to seriously consider building a tiny office for me in our backyard. I work from home full-time and use a bedroom in the house as my office. The only trouble is that when the dogs are barking, or Katie is playing loudly, it gets a little difficult to be on a conference call. The space I have out back is limited but there is one spot for an 8×8 tiny house. So I started drawing up some ideas for 8x8x8 structures. This is the first design which I drew last Sunday.

It’s desgned to require little cutting of the plywood sheathing and includes some unusual windows. I think the final office will have larger windows and larger overhang but it was fun exploring the cube shape. The roof in this drawing is designed to make it look flat from ground level but it is in fact slightly pitched to the back over the door. You can download the Google SketchUp file to get a better look if you have Google SketchUp on your computer.

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These tiny houses are vacation rentals designed to provide very comfortable accommodations for those who want to get-out while not giving up all the comforts of home. On their website they describe these cubes as being an excellent way for hotel operators to expand their business affordably while offering a completely different kind of accommodation. They are available in France (initially) and will probably be offered in other places across Europe in the near future.

I’ve always thought that tiny houses would make great rentals especially for people looking to explore a simpler life. I can actually imagine a small cluster of homes like these as a little bed and breakfast. In fact it would seem like a nice way to transition to a simplified life for the owner. The income from the B&B could theoretically offset the cost of the property, improvements, construction, and operation.

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Steven sent me a note last night about his tiny house summer project, aptly named My Summer Project. I was immediately blown away with the creative way he is enclosing the space. It appears to be 6 almost identical boxes that form a cube. In earlier drawing on his blog he even shows a geodesic dome housing the entire thing.

Steven is also making great progress on the real house and appears to have a nice enclosed shop to work. Continue reading to see some large photos of his progress. It’s really incredible to see this 3D drawing become a real house.

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I’ll definitely be following his progress this summer. I’m really looking forward to seeing this tiny house closed up and out in the sunlight. Photo credit Steve Klocke.

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Another tiny house from Europe is the Micro Compact Home. Much more modern than most of the alternatives especially those from America but still very cool, and very carefully designed. It’s manufactured in Austria and available for delivery to geographical Europe. The house was designed for short stays, not long term living. It sleeps two but has space for 5 to eat. It has a tiny kitchen space and even a shower/toilet cubicle. Photo credit Micro Compact Home.

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