Ultra-small dwelling puts a cork in tiny living
Portuguese startup Ecocubo has developed an eponymous cork tiny house that's intended to enable up to two people at a time to connect with nature. You probably wouldn't want to live in it permanently as it lacks in space and amenities, but the tiny dwelling looks well-suited for spending a weekend in the woods.
The Ecocubo is raised slightly on stilts and sports a neat Tetris-like patterned facade that can be customized with each model. It measures just 9 sq m (96 sq ft), laid-out on one floor, though there is a deck area too, which offers access and adds a little usable outdoor space. In addition to cork, wood was also used for its structure and interior finish.
Inside, the micro-house features a couch that pulls out into a two-person bed and a basic kitchenette along one wall. There's also a composting toilet, shower, cupboards and drawers, and a couple of small stools with integrated storage.
A cork tiny house seems a novel use of the impermeable, buoyant, elastic, and fire retardant material, so asked Ecocubo designer António Fernandes about the thinking behind it. He explained that, with Portugal being such a large producer of cork, it made good sense to use it. Fernandes also lauded cork's aesthetic qualities, relatively good insulation, and the fact that it's sustainably produced.
Power can either come from the grid or from solar or wind power. Fernandes told us that because of the cork's insulating qualities, air-conditioning is not required for keeping cool, nor should heating be needed either, but a small heater is installed as a precaution against very cold weather.
The first Ecocubo prototype was completed in late 2015 but has been since upgraded, and the most recent model is pictured. It can be built within two weeks and is currently geared toward tourism, so you can expect to see it in glamping parks, serving like the Tree Snake Houses in Portugal. The firm is working to roll it out internationally, too.
However, there are also plans to sell Ecocubo for private use and it appears to be well-suited for guest quarters, weekend cabin, or similar. It currently has a price tag of just €11,000 - €16,500 (US$11,700 - $17,550), plus taxes and transportation costs.