IKEA’s Design Lab Just Built a Tiny Home for Under $9K

Why do we love tiny homes?

They appeal to our appreciation for the humble and handcrafted. They resonate with our desire to live a less cluttered life. They pack a full home or apartment’s amenities into a small package. And they’re just kind of — for lack of a better word — cute.

And yet, in a world where most of them will set you back well over $50k, most tiny homes aren’t the economic long-term housing solution they purport themselves as. They get points for sustainability, yes, but their role is a bit like the in-and-out uncle who takes the kids to the amusement park a few times a year. Zany and memorable, sure, but not super practical or dependable.

But IKEA and its Copenhagen-based future-living lab, SPACE10, are hoping to change that. Their recent initiative “Building Blocks” challenged two young architects to create adaptable homes that would use as few materials as possible, at as little of a cost as possible. The architects, Johanne Holm-Jensen and Mia Behrens, ended up using a single machine (the affordable CNC milling machine) and a single material (FSC-certified plywood) to design a home that cost just $192 per square meter … or $9,400 all in.

space10 (3 images)

That’s right: $9,400 for a handsome, capable micro-home that could thrive in any corner of the world. And that’s precisely the point. Building Blocks’ goal isn’t just to design the home, but to release that design to the world and make it easily downloaded in the public domain. It’s called “open source architecture,” and while SPACE10 is still perfecting the prototype, this is an early sign that future tiny homes might soon find a democratic, and heightened variance of uses, from a backyard writing cabin or yoga studio, to temporary emergency housing, to shifting Third World communities out of favelas.

Find more information on the project here.

All images from SPACE10