Samuel Blythe, AIA

Samuel Blythe, AIA

New York, NY, US


"UnBOX" a Tiny House

UnBox is a Tiny House response to the blurred lines between work and living activities created by the COVID-19 Global Pandemic. Now, more than ever, citizens are using the same space for multiple functions, creating rifts in what was once clean breaks between personal time and purchased time. Clients are demanding immediate responses during what should be off hours, and family bonding is often interrupted by late nights at the “home office”.

UnBox attempts to reconcile this lifestyle homogenization by embracing one simple fact, we are doing most everything in the same space. The approach taken is to create a flexible space sandwiched in-between a fixed bathroom and kitchen. Multiple activities occur in this flex space with one key limitation: The assets for one activity must be boxed and stored before assets of another can be unboxed and used. The goal being to compartmentalize activities and force shutdown of one moment before another moment begins.

With this programmatic concept, a Tiny House has been designed to accommodate my family’s lifestyle with 3 boxes: living, sleeping, and studio. The Living box includes a sofa, entertainment system, multipurpose folding chairs, a coffee table, fire-pit/grill, and toy storage. The Sleeping box includes two queen sized murphy beds, and linen storage. The Studio Box includes two full sized work surfaces, desktop computers, laser printer, plotter, book shelf, and office supply storage. The full sized Kitchen includes refrigerator, sink, dishwasher, and stove. The stove hood exhausts directly to the exterior, and the Island’s work surface doubles as a dining table. The full sized bathroom includes an exhaust, fixed wardrobe which also houses a combo washer/dryer, and general storage.

UnBox is intended to be fully fabricated in a factory, shipped to site using ISO standards, and fixed to a pile foundation using ISO twist-locks. UnBox is to utilize the latest building technologies seen in commercial construction and is able to operate “Off-Grid”. The Box cladding is corrugated steel and the exterior is completely protected during shipping. When the box is installed on a foundation, a large hinged panel unfolds to reveal a porch and floor-to-ceiling operable storefront glazing, blurring the lines between exterior and interior. The Bathroom is flanked by a mechanical space which has full height/width double doors opening to the exterior. The 3hr fire rated mechanical space includes sprinkler, forced air HVAC, fresh water tank and pump, Sanitary tank and pump, batteries, generator, electrical switchboard, and propane tanks. The roof supports a full length solar array, as well as rain water collection. Although UnBox isn’t sized to be permanently on wheels, it can easily be shipped with little hassle using a standard shipping container chassis and some paperwork in most states. This allows for planned mobility in this ever shifting economy and ever more remote existence, enabling easy migration without arduous moving.

To put it in a nutshell, or a box, “UnBox" a Tiny House is a step forward toward modern micro living, and a step backward toward nomadic civilization.

Read more

Status: Competition Entry
My Role: Designer, Modeler, Renderer