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An easy-to-assemble 400-square-foot kit house that will make a great studio, guest house, vacation cabin, or emergency housing.

An easy-to-assemble 400-square-foot kit house that will make a great studio, guest house, vacation cabin, or emergency housing. Read more
113
backers
$8,334
pledged of $21,000 goal

About this project

The Idea

What is more important to human civilization than shelter? It is tied up with our very survival, but it is also part of our cultural and psychological identity. As an artist, I have been exploring issues of housing and homelessness for many years. Now I want to create an artwork that you can live in.

I want to build a prototype for a do-it-yourself kit house that draws on some of the ideas of my sculpture practice and that addresses many of the social and environmental problems with the housing industry. The Octagonal Living Unit (OLU) will also make a great artist’s studio or guest house, or even replacement housing following a natural disaster.

I have re-thought a hand-made house that my wife and I built several years ago. It isn’t a McMansion, or a singlewide or a conventional rectangular ranch house–or a conventional rectangular anything. It’s an octagon! The proportions of the original house, both inside and outside, are just a bit magical–luck, I guess, but it seems to appeal to lots of people. My project is to make it more widely available. 

This is that original hand-made house:

The specifics

I have found a building panel made from steel and expanded polystyrene. I have worked with an architect who knows the material and have re-imagined my little octagonal house as an easy-to-assemble kit.

• It is inexpensive.  I can’t be sure until I’ve built one, but I hope to offer this kit for less than $25,000 and the labor costs will be far less than conventional construction.

• It is eco-friendly.  Houses made from this building panel are much more energy-efficient than conventional “stick-built” houses and the slab floor serves as a heat sink if it is oriented for passive solar gain. There is virtually no waste. Construction waste accounts for a shocking percentage of the stuff filling up our landfills. This system comes already cut. The waste is re-captured and recycled at the factory.

• It is strong and safe. It's resistant to both high winds and seismic activity. The panels have a structure of 18 and 24 gauge steel that is screwed together with self-tapping screws and the entire structure is bolted to a concrete slab floor. The small profile and octagonal shape present far less sail surface to oncoming winds and the integrated structure is much more resistant to earthquake.

• It is easy to assemble. I designed a miniature version of this octagonal house and asked my wife and teenaged daughter to build it. It took them about two hours to assemble the panels on our deck.

The money

The money I raise will go toward hiring an engineer to help get the roof structure right, and to purchasing all the materials; panels, windows, doors, roofing, and siding. Oh, and toward producing and shipping the incentives.

One of the ideas of the project is to open it up to a community of interested people through the magic of social media. I would love to have you participate in this project. As an incentive, I am offering to make you a Creative Producer. You will get updates on the progress of engineering the roof and manufacturing the panels; you can get artwork made as accompanying work to the project; and for the really adventurous, reserve an Octagonal Living Unit kit house of your own. So please, take a look at the incentives on the right (and below) and come along for the ride.

FAQ

  • We've arranged with the panel manufacturer to build the OLU on site at the factory. The bevel cuts on the panels have to be exactly right for it to work, so we will likely need to build it more than once as we tweak them.

    Last updated:
  • We expect to have them available by this time next year.

    Last updated:
  • Definitely. Although the house works quite well as a stand alone, you can also add 8 foot x 8 foot pods off of any side to create a bedroom, bathroom or kitchen.

    Last updated:
  • Yes. We have several different variations that we want to prototype eventually.

    Last updated:
  • The panels that form the shell of the house are much more energy-efficient than traditional construction. Cold climate applications will need to construct a foundation that is appropriate to the weather, but you cold climate folks know all that. Panels like this have been used extensively in Russia for years.

    Last updated:

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Save the world....get fabulous prizes! Everyone who contributes will become a Creative Producer for the project and a participant in the OLU conceptual art and social media project. You will be confirmed as a member of the OLU facebook group and you can get email and twitter updates about the process of building the kit house, from the arrival of the panels to the hanging of the doors.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    I will mail you a series of three photo postcards from past exhibitions with a personal note of thanks and you will receive the Creative Producer incentives.

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    14 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    You will receive a set of 10 art notecards with envelopes featuring "Heliotrope," the sunset bench seen in the video at timestamp 0:50. You will also receive all of the incentives reserved for Creative Producers.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    You will receive a 100% cotton t-shirt (S,M,L,XL) with an two-color silk-screen derived from the OLU image at timestamp 0:03 and you receive all of the incentives reserved for Creative Producers.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    I will send you a signed copy of Carbon and Oxygen, the small-run publication from my exhibition by the same name. It includes an insightful essay by Laura Hoptman. You also receive the Creative Producer incentives. Limit 35.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    If you don't like t-shirts, I will send you the same Octagonal Living Unit two-color silk-screen on acid-free paper... and the Creative Producer incentives.

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    3 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    I will send you a signed 8 x 9 inch color carbon print from the project "The Metaphorical House." The image is a branch from the jatropha tree, the miracle tree of Haiti. You can see it in my video at timestamp 2:32...and you receive the Creative Producer incentives.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    You can select an original drawing from the series "House Work." They are graphite, ink, tar paper, collage and house paint on acid-free mat board. Various sizes (6 x 8 up to 12 x 14). There are examples to the left and more at www.sculptorhouse.com/kickstarter.htm.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    I will send you a signed 18 x 24 inch archival color print from the series “There Was An Old….” (the shoebox sculpture) You can see one of the prints in my video at timestamp 2:34. Both are archival inks and watercolor on acid-free paper. You also receive the Creative Producer incentives.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    I will send you a signed and numbered limited edition color print from the series called "The Black Paintings." You can see an image of this print just to the left or in my video at timestamp 2:36. Printed with archival inks on archival cotton paper, this edition of one hundred prints measures approximately 16 x 19 inches. You also receive the Creative Producer incentives.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    I'll send you a signed copy of my artist's book, "The Three Little Pigs: as it was originally passed into English folklore in 1620." When it was first published, this book was reviewed by Nancy Princenthal in "The Print Collector's Newsletter" and it's in a special collection of the Museum of Modern Art. The original edition of 1000 published by Gates of Heck is sold out. You also receive the Creative Producer incentives.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    I will send you an original piece of sculpture made from the steel and polystyrene building panel. You can see an example in the video at timestamp 2:40. They are big, so shipping costs must be negotiated. ...I will also include an inscribed copy of "Homing Device," a 40-page color book of my sculpture published by Chroma Projects, an art laboratory.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    You will reserve one of the first five OLU kit houses at the retail price, projected at 21 to 24K including structural insulated panels, Energy Star windows and doors, siding and roofing. I will come to your property and customize your OLU as a site-specific sculpture: advise you where to site your OLU in the landscape and what cladding to use and then I'll return to put grace notes on the house after it is finished. I will bring you an inscribed copy of "Homing Device" and a bottle of my favorite wine from southwest France. Beyond 150 miles, add travel costs.

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $9,000 or more About $9,000

    I will come to your property and build a 12-foot version of the hexagonal rose arbor sculpture seen in the video at timestamp 0:57. When I come, I will bring you a signed copy of "Homing Device," and a painting from the "House Work" series. Travel and shipping costs to be negotiated.

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Funding period

- (38 days)