I really have to stop making my replies so long that they are like posts…am I the only offender here? The only reason I mention that is that I decided to repost my reply in response to an open request by Ross Gale in his blog post “The heart of a buffalo” (http://rcgale.com/2012/05/19/the-heart-of-a-buffalo/). [Are you confused, yet?] His request was to “[w]rite a piece that gets to the heart of something. Don’t dance or impress, just speak plainly and honestly and get right to its core.”
I had just been reading about an experimental structure in the tinyhouseblog (http://tinyhouseblog.com/dome/indianapolis-island/).
I replied to that original post, then later I decided that I had done what he suggested and, since I don’t generally write by request (not being a student anymore), I decided to do the unprecedented (for me) and put it here and let him see what he thinks. Fun challenge. This means that if you decide to go see what this is all about you don’t have to read my response here because I did it there. [Are you confused, again, yet?]
Hmm. It looks like an igloo without the benefit of a “self cleaning” (melting) inner surface or being 100% biodegradable. Also, while the entrance appears to be designed to keep out water, it would make it more difficult and time-consuming to clean out unless one is sweeping things down through the floor, which is a poor environmental idea. Regarding color, white would look natural in the arctic, but here it simply shocks the eyes rather than blending into the environment in an organic way that would make it aesthetically pleasing (I wonder what Thoreau would think?).
I agree about the toilet and convenience issues others have raised, and, given the building materials used, why *not* design a more efficient use of space to allow for living necessities and cooking facilities?
I think that the original “tiny home” very thoughtfully and brilliantly “examine[d] the daily needs of contemporary human beings” and came to some excellent design conclusions as evidenced by the amount of time in continuous YEAR-ROUND residence. And, BTW, how can one know that what they are doing can possibly be deemed “sustainable” if they are only living that way during the easy months of the year?
Those who have lived in very small environments (houseboats, yachts, small cottages, small mobile homes, space stations, and the like) already have an excellent grasp on the concept and would be good resources on the topic as their experiences are not theoretical but actual and practical. They are more interested in necessities arranged efficiently as opposed to cultural expectations and, like those living in undeveloped nations, are certainly not doing it just to be primarily experimental/artistic (which is a more western approach).