Architecture

Tiny Tower brings small living to the big city

Tiny Tower brings small living...
Tiny Tower, which is owned by Callahan Ward Companies, shoehorns a 1,250 sq ft  home into a 12 x 29 ft plot in Philadelphia's Brewerytown neighborhood
Tiny Tower, which is owned by Callahan Ward Companies, shoehorns a 1,250 sq ft  home into a 12 x 29 ft plot in Philadelphia's Brewerytown neighborhood
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Tiny Tower measures 38 ft (11.5 m) in height
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Tiny Tower measures 38 ft (11.5 m) in height
Tiny Tower, which is owned by Callahan Ward Companies, shoehorns a 1,250 sq ft  home into a 12 x 29 ft plot in Philadelphia's Brewerytown neighborhood
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Tiny Tower, which is owned by Callahan Ward Companies, shoehorns a 1,250 sq ft  home into a 12 x 29 ft plot in Philadelphia's Brewerytown neighborhood
Tiny Tower's interior is arranged around five floors, plus a rooftop terrace
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Tiny Tower's interior is arranged around five floors, plus a rooftop terrace
We've seen some similar projects to Tiny Tower before, such as the Slim Fit and Tikku
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We've seen some similar projects to Tiny Tower before, such as the Slim Fit and Tikku
Tiny Tower's two bedrooms include an adjoining bathroom
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Tiny Tower's two bedrooms include an adjoining bathroom
One major challenge of Tiny Tower was finding room for the stairs
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One major challenge of Tiny Tower was finding room for the stairs
Tiny Tower measures 1,250 sq ft (116 sq m) 
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Tiny Tower measures 1,250 sq ft (116 sq m) 
Tiny Tower's kitchen and dining room are in the basement
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Tiny Tower's kitchen and dining room are in the basement

Many cities are filled with awkward little plots that aren't suitable for building a standard house on, but ISA (Interface Studio Architects) has designed an interesting compact home that could make good use of them. Named Tiny Tower, the 1,250 sq ft (116 sq m) dwelling fits into a 12 x 29 ft (3.6 x 8.8 m) inner-city space.

Tiny Tower is located in Philadelphia's Brewerytown neighborhood, which is currently undergoing redevelopment. It neighbors plots of similar size that are being used as car parking spaces and back yards. To fit a house into such a small space, ISA drew design inspiration from a rather unlikely source: skyscrapers.

"Although it measures only 38 ft [11.5 m] in height, Tiny Tower is organized like a full-scale skyscraper," says ISA. "Linked by a strong core of vertical circulation, each level is similar in size and quality, allowing for flexible programming. With a kitchen at the lower level and tucked away bathrooms on upper ones, each floor is free to define live, work and play in multiple configurations."

Tiny Tower's interior is arranged around five floors, plus a rooftop terrace
Tiny Tower's interior is arranged around five floors, plus a rooftop terrace

The house was largely constructed using steel, including the cladding, and comprises five floors, plus a rooftop terrace. The first-floor living room is snug but has a sofa and table, while the kitchen and dining area, plus one of the three bathrooms, are below in the basement. The second floor features a home office and the remaining two floors host bedrooms, each with an adjoining bathroom. Finally, the rooftop terrace is accessible too and has some seating installed.

"The biggest challenge in a vertical house with a tiny footprint is stair configuration," adds the firm. "A folded plate metal stair with winder treads pushed up against the front facade of the building creates a dramatic, light-filled circulation stack that affords surprising views inside and out as well as a sense of adventure for the occupants."

One major challenge of Tiny Tower was finding room for the stairs
One major challenge of Tiny Tower was finding room for the stairs

One obvious drawback of Tiny Tower's design is that residents will need to spend a lot of time climbing the stairs. That said, the issue is mitigated with the bathrooms being available on most levels, which makes it more appealing than similar projects we've covered, such as the Slim Fit and Tikku.

Source: ISA

5 comments
ryan61
Tiny home gimmick, nothing to see here. Looks like ~40% of the interior volume is stairwell, useful...
Grunchy
I've got an architectural magazine that I bought years ago and one of the most striking designs in there (to my eye) was called "Raven's Nest" which features 3 floors each 20'x20', a total of 1200 sq. ft. Now that I think about it, and seeing some designs that had been done with shipping containers, I bet I could make a really awesome alternative using three layers of three 8'x20' sea cans. So floor size would be 20'x24'. Sea cans are really rugged & they are remarkably cheap, even if you buy 9 of them. For example, a pup trailer is built so tough you can drive forklifts inside of them and fill them completely full of freight and haul them back & forth cross country, I wonder how good that would work as a camper conversion? Definitely heavy-duty.
JemThomas
Having looked at the images I see Ryan's point, it is a shame the architects didn't come up with a way to move from floor to floor using less space. A micro lift using human power and gravity perhaps. I seem to remember such a system in these illustrious pages.
Grunchy
That vacuum elevator was from 2005 https://newatlas.com/go/4007/
graham30
The house is a fairly sizeable 29' deep, the stairs are about 3' deep, so a smidge over 10% of the house is stairs. Although I think it is 4 floors + roof terrace. About 24'x11'x4 of actual floorspace when you take insulation, etc, into account.