MicroHome 4C-20

International Architecture CompetitionMICROHOME 2020 - SMALL LIVING, HUGE IMPACT!

The function of a home has shifted due to the current global pandemic. The home is also now serving as workplace, school, theater and gym as many of us are spending more time at home than ever before. People often choose their home because of its location; proximity to work with an easy commute by foot, car or public transportation, access to quality schools, communal activities and amenities. But if a young professional couple can work remotely from anywhere, and the option to participate in communal activities have lessen, then why should they live close to any of these services?Many city dwellers have been leaving for rural environments in the countryside, seeking better immersion into nature and tranquil landscape. However, in these places connection to utilities is often lacking. In response to this new reality of living we designed the Microhome 4C-20: a flexible, functional and off-grid tiny house, that focuses on self-sufficiency and sustainability. To achieve these objectives, the house features integrated systems for rainwater collection, solar energy production, natural heating and cooling, and greenhouse space for growing food and improving indoor air quality.
The Microhome 4C-20 is composed of 4 pre-fabricated modules: Core, Companion, Comfort, and Cover, that can be assembled together on site with minimal impact to the environment.The Core module contains the main mechanical and plumbing functions efficiently located in the floor cavity above grade. This raised floor becomes the kitchen countertop and incorporates the cooking area. Above is the bathroom and closet storage. Overhead is the sleeping area and remote work nook accessed by a custom operable ladder. The Companion module contains the water collection and storage system, solar energy system, and natural ventilation. It is vital for the functioning of the whole unit. Together, the Core and Companion provide the minimal living space. To expand this footprint, adding the Comfort module will offer more space for freeform programming and furniture.The Cover is an optional module with an outdoor terrace and canopy.Additional modules can be linked to the Core and offer variations in the layout. Two or more Comfort modules can be added to the Core and Companion to expand and allow for additional programming. The Cover module can be linked also to the Core for extra outdoor canopied space. Multiple variations in this configuration provide the homeowner with the ability to expand their living space over time to accommodate their fluctuating needs.The house features a ‘greenhouse’ garden wall facing direct sunlight. Growing plants indoor creates a small scale carbon sink, leading to higher oxygen levels and better air filtration. The opposing side is a storage wall and thermal mass which maintains the interior temperature of the unit.
Rain water is harvested from the roof, filtered and collected in water tanks within the walls. Hot & cold water is temperature regulated for domestic use. Grey water is recaptured for irrigation and waste management.
The unit layout is designed for efficiency of use. The most basic functions and utilities are grouped in one module, allowing for an open and flexible floor space for the living/working area rest of the unit. A canopied entrance bridges the interior and the exterior space.
PV panels on the roof generate electrical energy that is stored in battery packs within the walls. The house employs a passive heating and cooling system. The greenhouse wall collects heat during the day, that is stored in the thermal mass of the water tanks, and released during the night. Vertical farming also provides interior shading.