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A tiny home for a crowded world

Imagine not having to worry about the cost of accommodation when you travel.

Imagine being able to bring your hotel room everywhere you go as you sight-see and never have to worry about making it back for the night.

Interested? If you're intending to travel to Berlin anytime soon, you'll certainly have the opportunity to do just that.

Called the One-Sqm-House, the tiny brainchild of Laos's refugee Le-Metnzel was inspired by his never-ending quest to find a place he could call home after he left his native land.

With the One-Sqm-House, Le-Metnzel strove to impress upon people the idea of a home that they can take with them anywhere they go.

To drive home this point, the little house is so compact it can fit in elevators, in some vehicles and even on the Berlin Metro Car.

With the added benefit of eliminating homelessness if you can drag your own home with you, Le-Metnzel has since partnered with BMW Guggenheim Lab to create a global village of these miniscule mobile houses, starting in Berlin, where just about anyone can rent.

Right now, you're probably thinking, "Houses in Singapore are already decreasing in size. Why would I want to spend to stay in a 1 sq.m home when I'm on vacation?"

Did we mention it only costs 1 Euro per night?

It's certainly not going to be a viable solution for this so-called dwindling of space in many countries, but as a novelty and an experience, the idea has some merit.

Granted, it's nothing more than a few pieces of wood slapped together with window blinds all around but having a roof wherever you go can be rather helpful.Besides, vacationing in Europe can be a costly affair.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could eliminate accomodation from your budgeting? More cash for retail therapy! 

Furthermore, how liberating it'll be if you could park your mobile home and rest at the park or beach for the night instead of spending money on transport to return to your hotel room?

That's one experience you can't have in Singapore; at least, not without a permit or being a nuisance.

Nevertheless, this still opens up a laundry list of problems, chief among them being a distinct lack of space to hold your luggage and shopping.

When on vacation, you're bound to do some shopping and the One-Sqm-House lacks sufficient space for you to contain your loot comfortably.

However, since the ‘house' was designed to adequately accommodate a person with a maximum height of 1.75m, given our shorter stature, we're likely to end up with slightly more room to play with.

Furthermore, the East Seven Hostel is the official parking spot for the house. The hostel owners have allowed usage of their facilities, such as bathrooms and toilets, the kitchen and a storage space for your luggage, should you require them at no extra cost.

When you decide to return to home base, you'll park the house in the garden and as long as you abide by their house rules, you won't get kicked out to the curb.

The rules aren't terribly difficult to follow and given that you're only paying 1 Euro to sleep in someone's backyard with free Wi-Fi nonetheless, it's hardly a big a deal.

The hostel is situated next to the BMW Guggenheim Lab and has proven to be ardent supporters of this little initiative.

While Berlin was the hotspot for this creation, Le-Metnzel and Corrine Rose from BMW Guggenheim are hoping to bring their venture on a six year tour around the world.

Currently, on their list are Mumbai and New York, where they want residents in those crowded cities to join their cause.

With a plan to build whole communities comprising of 1 sq.m. homes either locally or global, the architects of his little-big idea are hoping to rise above the tired notion of unaffordable and overly expensive homes and instead take matters into their own hands to build and carve out a home anywhere.

However, having a tiny home in developed and rich countries seems like a meaningless exercise in submission. After all, if citizens of an affluent country must make do with a cheap and tiny space as a home, then it certainly implies that the wealth of the nation is not being distributed equally and for everyone's benefit.

As a tourist attraction, the One-Sqm-Home will always have a place, but as a substitute for actual living space in developed nations, it will be a major step backwards. 

On that note, the One-Sq.m-House initiative would be a blessing in countries where poverty is widespread. Owning anything with a roof in  these places can be all a person need to feel that they belong. 

Home may be where the heart is but having personal space with a roof to call their own certainly won't hurt.

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Written by: Christopher Chitty


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