To build a house or a place to retreat to on weekends, by one’s own means, in a remote place such as the wilderness, using recycled materials and, above all, completely off-the-grid, is perhaps one of the last dreams in today’s contemporary society; but is it still possible?
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Faced with shrinking possibilities, due to increasingly restrictive regulations, narrowing borders and frontiers, where instantaneous information tools are becoming commonplace and faster, more accessible means of transport are available – can one still find the necessary space and time to build this dream?The following pages contain a selection of stories of those who have seen this vision become a reality.
If we consider that living in a Tiny House is not settling for second best, but rather an achievement, and the possibility of reducing our needs in terms of built space as a breakthrough, we could equate one of the greatest accomplishments of living in a Tiny House as “freedom”, bearing in mind that people living in a Tiny House have the potential to save on maintenance, mortgages and bills. This has the possibility of making the world much bigger, therefore Tiny Houses are an innovation to consider with renewed interest in the next decade.
To self-build, and to even live off-the-grid, does not mean to be self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency should be seen more as a journey rather than as a destination. To self-build means to recover some knowledge and skills that have dissipated in a society that is overwhelmingly driven by the digital revolution. The goal, rather, is to start again and do as much as possible ones self; to have the courage to change direction and avoid the easy comfort and at least some of the pitfalls of our time.
Our wish is that the selection that follows could be of inspiration to many, and if you have the opportunity to build something with your own hands, have no doubts - just start!
With projects from: Andreas Wenning, Benjamin Garcia Saxe, Broissin Architects, Bruit du Frigo, Bureau A, Casey Brown Studio, Gartnerfuglen & Mariana de Delás, General Design, Go Hasegawa and Associates, Jaanus Orgusaar, Jason Thawley, Joel Allen, Jose Andrés Vallejo, Lilah Horwitz and Nick Olson, Manuel Villa, Marco Casagrande, Nendo, Office of Mobile Design, Parsonson Architects, raumhochrosen, Rintala Eggertsson Architects, Rob Sweere, Saunders Architecture, Septembre, SHJWORKS / Simon Hjermind Jensen, Studio Moffitt, Tham & Videgård Arkitekter, TYIN tegnestue Architects.
Boundaries is a quarterly magazine on sustainable, socially engaged and humanitarian architecture. Each issue is monographic, with full texts in English and Italian (facing), and all articles are accompanied by notes and a bibliography for further reading. ISSN 2239-0332.