Ski nuts, nomadic couples, Portlandia fans, and shopping-mall developers have all tried their hand at making micro homes, so it was only a matter of time before a starchitect jumped on the "house truck gypsy wagon" and gave tiny living a whirl, too. The first to step up to the place, it seems, is Renzo Piano, who's just unveiled a tiny cabin on the Vitra campus in southwestern Germany.
Named Diogene "after a Greek philosopher who rejected luxury and chose to live in a barrel"—but of course!—Piano's dwelling, a wood structure clad with aluminum panels, measures two meters by two meters (roughly 42 square feet) and "is the final result of a long, long journey partially driven by desires and dreams, but also by technicality and a scientific approach," he says. Since this is 2013 and Piano might have his license revoked—although, yikes, one British board says he's not an architect, anyway—if he were to deny even the tiniest of dwellings green features, solar panels, a rainwater collection system, and a biological toilet fulfill these expectations. Inside, there's a pull-out sofa, folding table, and kitchen. So, yeah, Diogene—an "experimental concept" that's "intended as a self-sufficient hideaway that can be used as a workplace or as a weekend home"—is minuscule, but it's still about twice the size of the smallest "house" on Earth.