Architecture

Rooftop cabins create homes out of thin air

Covering just 20 sq m /215 sq ft, the Cabin Spacey (black structure in the middle) will fit into very small spaces
Covering just 20 sq m /215 sq ft, the Cabin Spacey (black structure in the middle) will fit into very small spaces
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Covering just 20 sq m /215 sq ft, the Cabin Spacey (black structure in the middle) will fit into very small spaces
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Covering just 20 sq m /215 sq ft, the Cabin Spacey (black structure in the middle) will fit into very small spaces
Cabin Spacey says there is space for around 50,000 apartments on roofs in Berlin
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Cabin Spacey says there is space for around 50,000 apartments on roofs in Berlin
The small, prefab shelters are designed to be installed on top of buildings, but can be installed in other unused sites
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The small, prefab shelters are designed to be installed on top of buildings, but can be installed in other unused sites
The Cabin Spacey can accommodate two people
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The Cabin Spacey can accommodate two people
The Cabin Spacey has a number of space-saving features, including foldable chairs, a foldable table and a multifunctional kitchenette, bed and storage unit
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The Cabin Spacey has a number of space-saving features, including foldable chairs, a foldable table and a multifunctional kitchenette, bed and storage unit

With the ultimate goal of providing affordable homes in cities where living space is increasingly at a premium, a German company is shooting for the moon by landing on the rooftops. Cabin Spacey's small, prefab shelters are designed to be installed on top of buildings, or in other unused sites.

The firm says there is space for around 50,000 apartments on roofs in Berlin, and has designed its self-titled prefab housing module for installation in exactly those locations. Covering just 20 sq m (215 sq ft), it will fit into very small sites and it is aimed at being easy to transport, install and connect to existing utilities and infrastructure.

The Cabin Spacey can be built in a couple of days, if needs be at a factory before being transported to a site ready-made. Its outer "hull" is made almost entirely of timber, which is used for its sustainability credentials.

Once constructed, it can house two people and has a number of space-saving features, including foldable chairs, a foldable table and a multifunctional kitchenette, bed and storage unit. The cabin is powered by photovoltaic panels installed on the roof that feed a battery integrated into the floor, with any surplus electricity generated able to be supplied to a nearby building. Among its other features are a smart home system and a heating and cooling system.

The Cabin Spacey has a number of space-saving features, including foldable chairs, a foldable table and a multifunctional kitchenette, bed and storage unit
The Cabin Spacey has a number of space-saving features, including foldable chairs, a foldable table and a multifunctional kitchenette, bed and storage unit

An Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign is ongoing with the aim of raising enough money to produce the first prototype of the Cabin Spacey, dubbed the Model Zero. The aim of the prototype will be to attract interest in the cabin and the associated way of living for its eventual commercialization, as well as to provide an opportunity for people to visit and experience the cabin.

In the event that the crowdfunding target is missed, as appears may be the case, Cabin Spacey says that support unexpectedly garnered from third-party companies during the campaign will see that the prototype is still built. Whatever money is pledged via Indiegogo will still be received and additional components and technologies have now been committed to the project from prospective partners.

The Model Zero prototype is expected to be built by the end of this year. Subsequently, Cabin Spacey plans to both sell its cabins and to provide access to cabins installed in certain locations. The price for a Cabin Spacey has yet to be set, but the aim is to keep it "far under" €100,000 (US$110,700).

The video below provides an introduction to the Cabin Spacey. It's in German, but you can turn on subtitles if required.

Sources: Cabin Spacey, Indiegogo

4 comments
bobflint
How is this any different than pitching a tent on someone's roof top? Oh yeah you have to get the box up there, no water, electricity or sewage. Might as well live in the allies...
windykites
Major difficulty: Access to your dwelling. Walking up through an office block which will have to be open 24/7.
flylowguy
Probably this could be a more useful and feasible concept if approached with a greater plan than just a little manufactured box stuck on a rooftop. Maybe on 4-6 floor existing buildings, prefabbed multi unit structures could be craned in place and the additional floor(s) could be served with an exterior attached hydraulic elevator. Using lightweight steel frame construction, the underlying structure might carry the additional load without additional retrofitting. Close buildings might be connected by pedestrian bridges to form communities with some commercial and shopping.
charles000
Interesting core concept, but still needs much refinement. Here in San Francisco and surrounding areas, affordable housing has become a truly serious challenge, even for those with full time (and multiple) jobs. So, a pre-fab, transportable modular housing unit that can be installed on rooftops is not necessarily a bad idea, but 24/7 access, and hygiene facilities are the big missing items here. This is not really a tech feasibility problem, as much as it is an urban planning / organizational strategy challenge. This could be implemented in various circumstances, but will require some form of organizational strategies in specific areas where this can be applied.