Tiny Houses

"Invisible" tiny house disappears into its surroundings

"Invisible" tiny house disappe...
The Disappear Retreat can be preordered now with an expectation to move into production in 2019
The Disappear Retreat can be preordered now with an expectation to move into production in 2019
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One of those open-plan models
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One of those open-plan models
An accompanying Shed structure adds to the primary building's ability to better function off-grid
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An accompanying Shed structure adds to the primary building's ability to better function off-grid
The dwelling opens up at the back to spread out onto an accompanying deck
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The dwelling opens up at the back to spread out onto an accompanying deck
Three different model floorplans
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Three different model floorplans
The Disappear Retreat can be preordered now with an expectation to move into production in 2019
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The Disappear Retreat can be preordered now with an expectation to move into production in 2019
A retractable fabric ceiling can cover the glass roof
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A retractable fabric ceiling can cover the glass roof
The dwelling opens up at the back to spread out onto an accompanying deck
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The dwelling opens up at the back to spread out onto an accompanying deck
The external side of the glass walls is reflective, allowing the entire structure to disappear into its surroundings
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The external side of the glass walls is reflective, allowing the entire structure to disappear into its surroundings
The Bed+Bath model has built-in plumbing and a bedroom
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The Bed+Bath model has built-in plumbing and a bedroom
The space is intended for a variety of different uses
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The space is intended for a variety of different uses
The glass roof offers an exciting connection to nature
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The glass roof offers an exciting connection to nature
Exterior elevations
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Exterior elevations
A living iteration of the space
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A living iteration of the space
A description showing how the two structures work together for full sustainable off-grid activities
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A description showing how the two structures work together for full sustainable off-grid activities

Architect Carly Coulson preaches a form of design she calls "invisible sustainability." This approach takes sustainable design principles and incorporates them into an aesthetic that is rigorously minimal. The Disappear Retreat is one of Coulson's flagship designs, aiming for what is dubbed "triple-zero living" – zero energy, zero waste, zero water.

The Disappear Retreat is an impressively conceived prefab, off-grid dwelling with a footprint of just 83 sq ft (7.7 sq m). The entire design is centered on maximizing sustainable features and reducing energy consumption, which is aided by glass walls that are triple pane insulated with a strong R-value of 32. On the outside they are reflective, acting like giant mirrors so the entire unit disappears into its landscape.

The structure is air-tight and meets many Passive House standards from around the world. No mechanical heating or cooling is reportedly needed and any other small energy demands are supplied by a photovoltaic system on one of its glass walls. Rainwater can be captured off the roof of an accompanying Shed unit.

The Bed+Bath model has built-in plumbing and a bedroom
The Bed+Bath model has built-in plumbing and a bedroom

Three models are currently up for preorder, each externally identical but with different interior configurations. The Bed+Bath is clearly the most contained, livable design with built-in bed, bathroom and cook space. The Basic model is a more flexible open-plan iteration, while a Sauna model has built-in wooden benches and sauna systems.

One of those open-plan models
One of those open-plan models

The project was initially announced in mid 2017 with prototype testing and evaluation to be revealed later in 2018. The plan is to build a collection of prototypes in a forest near Grand Marais, Minnesota that would act as info-centers on sustainable building while allowing potential buyers to "test-drive" the designs via overnight stays.

It is expected that Disappear Retreats will be available for purchase from 2019 and preorder enquiries are open now. The proposed price is currently between US$25,000 and $45,000 as Coulson is intent on keeping these designs attainable to all.

Source: Coulson

6 comments
Helios
I wonder what the designer has in mind for the bird kill created by the mirrors. An owner might even find a deer or two with its head smashed into the glass during rut season. Looks clever in concept, not so in reality.
EZ
Big windows to wash--and regularly to keep it invisible.
frogola24
put five or six of them together with a heating system.
Greg Blain Architect
Consider bird kills (including broken beaks resulting in starvation) and confusion and mayhem for fire fighters in event of a bush fire. Back to the drawing board I think.
david497
I would really like to see accurate calculations that prove this is a zero energy building. Triple glazing isn't R-32, that is ridiculous. It is probably more like a u-factor of 0.32 which is R-3. The building will dramatically overheat from solar exposure and be horribly cold from heat loss through all of that glass. Occupants will be uncomfortable as their body radiates heat to all of that cold glass, even if the air temperature is normal. It may be that if you are sitting facing the sunny side the front of your body will feel over-heated and your back will feel cold at the same time, the same effect as setting in front of a campfire on a cold night. Claims that this building meets "many Passive House standards" is misleading. PH requires huge levels of insulation and a low glass to wall ratio as a fundamental strategy. This house appears to not provide either. We need science-based verifiable design to do truly sustainable buildings.
CDM
Agree with all , esp David397. This may be an interesting student project, but not in reality. They would never meet their projected costs also. It is a real disservice for many magazines and the great unwashed public to publish BS tiny home projects like this without some peer review. I work with several prefab mfg and many prefabs in the press are off the chart $/sf. The public is deceived. But..it is good to keep ideas flowing. The idea of an invisible ADU, would help approval to neighborhood opposition, but.....not this one. I can hear the protests now. From all sides. The energy claims are ridiculous. Glass is a hole in the wall compared to a solid insulated wall. No matter how many expensive layers. This shit is frustrating to see. But....keep thinking.