If small is beautiful, then the 320 square-foot EDGE house from Wisconsin’s Revelations Architects is absolutely gorgeous. EDGE stands for Experimental Dwelling for a Greener Environment, and true to that acronym, the award-winning little modular home includes Earth-friendly features such as rainwater collection, geothermal heating and cooling, air-to-air heat recovery, passive solar windows, and insulated exterior shutter doors that minimize nighttime heat loss. Making the most of every square inch of interior space, the house has multi-functional transformable furniture, plus two overhead bedrooms. It's also made for easy construction and relocation, to the point that the prototype has been assembled, taken apart and moved three times in six months.
The EDGE’s basic layout is, like everything else about the dwelling, simple. Two prefabricated boxes which contain the mechanical areas, namely the kitchen and bathroom, sit at either end of the house. Between them is the central living space, while above each box is an 80 square-foot loft bedroom. The custom-made furniture in the living space can be transformed to accommodate eating, sleeping and socializing. The exterior rain screen and shutters are constructed from locally-grown white oak, while the interior is made from CNC-cut Baltic birch plywood. Essentially, everything was designed with economy of space, construction, and environmental impact in mind.
It’s certainly no surprise that Revelations president Bill Yudchitz is a big fan of keeping things simple, and assessing what is really important in life. “The EDGE is about trying to have less,” he said. “We all have so much materialism, myself included, that the stuff gets in the way of life [and] our relationship with other people. The less we have the less time it takes to own it and the better chance we have of keeping it from owning us... is it spiritual to want to relate to the world without baggage? I think so!”
Of course, not everyone could live their lives within 320 square feet. To that end, the EDGE is promoted as a full-time residence, or as a vacation retreat. And while you can buy one for $US60,000 to $150,000, the project is more about getting people to question over-consumption and excess than it is about selling houses. “I hope the EDGE concept has a future,” stated Yudchitz. “I hope that it becomes a point of learning for people to think smaller... now we step back and ask what does it really mean and what did we all learn from it.”
The EDGE house prototype is located at Checquamegon Bay in Bayfield, Wisconsin.