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Small Houses


Let’s start with some figures. 20 years ago, living space per capita in Germany was 39.5 m2. In 2019, there were 47 m2 for every inhabitant – a considerable increase with a continuing upward trend. At the same time, urban agglomerations have been getting larger and denser, and rents are rising, as are land prices. Although most people dream of owning their own home, fewer and fewer can afford to do so. Last but not least, the question of conscience comes into play: Do single-family homes still make sense in times of land sealing, climate crisis, and serious mobility problems?

A house of one’s own could be justified if it is devised for long-term use, with sustainable solutions and efficient use of space. But this is easier said than done, particularly for families with their evolving needs over the years.

In this July–August issue we’ve documented sustainable small homes that are structurally simple yet offer a high standard of living, and most of them are easy to disassemble. With careful planning and minimal foundations, they nestle in nature or fill urban voids, while offering a maximum of indoor living ­qualities on a reduced footprint. Frank Kaltenbach compiled a selection of small houses from Lake Ammersee to the Pacific Ocean, from a residual lot in London to a building gap in Belgian Kortrijk. What unites them are their inventive solutions: rooftops become a second escape route, pivot windows extend living space into the outdoors, space-saving spiral staircases connect the floors, and stairs double as a support for the kitchen counter. Not to mention highly efficient space-saving bathrooms.

Small but beautiful is a strategy for the future that needs to be cleverly designed – from the layout to the facade – and doing so is no small task! On our product pages we present fitting solutions from manufacturers for interiors, acoustics, and lighting as well as building automation. Enjoy these little homes! 

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