An easy-to-assemble 400-square-foot kit house that will make a great studio, guest house, vacation cabin, or emergency housing. Read more
This project's funding goal was not reached on June 30, 2011.
About this project
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:
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 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.
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.
We expect to have them available by this time next year.
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.
Yes. We have several different variations that we want to prototype eventually.
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.
- (38 days)