Sami Rintala designed a box while thinking outside the box, In his quest to develop a low-cost, energy efficient residence, he came out with a solution that bears an interesting spatial composition.
This dwelling has 19m2 (200sqft) of living space, subdivided in four rooms that are covering the basic functions of the house and distributed at different levels. They include a kitchen with dining, bathroom, living room and bedroom.
Photographs are courtesy of Ivan Brodey and
The message behind the design is the denunciation of the consumption society. For the architect, adapting to the northern climate should lead to smaller and greener dwellings, since it reduces construction time, energy and material consumption. “Producing smaller homes would bring about a considerable economical and ecological benefit”.
As stated by Rintala: “it seems that we have given the right to produce our homes to uncontrollable groups of actors who seek mostly maximum income. The basic need to have one’s family protected has become a great business adventure.” Western society in general that, as the standards of living grow higher, houses are ever increasing in size. Although the society is made aware of the damage entailed by the excessive consumption of natural resources, it has the hypocritical tendency of shedding a blind eye in the pursuit of quantity over quality. “Therein lays the greatest paradox: We are forced to actively forget the real reality to be able to enjoy the facade of excess we have created around us.”
The design is therefore a testimony that less is more. While reducing floor area by taking out the redundant unnecessary space and working on optimizing the rest, a great emphasis is placed on the quality of space, sunlight, as well as material. The process results in a significant reduction in construction cost to 1/4 of the price of any same size apartment being built in the same area.
Although the boxhome is designed for a single dweller or a young couple, Rintala wants its minimalist philosophy to transcend to larger dwellings. “Boxhome is a prototype building, yet the same attitude could be taken further to bigger family housing and consequently to work places.” It drives a good punch to the costly, inefficient, and overbloated McMansion. Let’s hope the message, as it reverberates through this and other housing prototype start to resonate in the mainstream’s deafened ears.