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Tiny Rooftop Cabins Could Solve Urban Housing Crunch

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Designers in Berlin say their prefab houses are perfect for unused spaces

Two Berlin-based architects are taking the tiny home movement to new heights with a prefab housing module that aims to transform cities. Architects Simon Becker and Andreas Rauch, the creators of Cabin Spacey, want to help solve the urban space crunch by adding housing to a neglected part of the city core: the rooftops. Cabin Spacey estimates that Berlin alone has 55,000 unused roofs that are unsuitable for regular development. That’s space for thousands of tiny cabins at a time when cities around the world are struggling to fund and develop affordable housing.

Becker and Rauch’s cabins are 250 square feet and can house up to two people. But there’s plenty of functionality in the Cabin Spacey design; the micro houses contain a kitchen, bathroom, living room, fold down table, and a staircase that leads to a sleeping loft. They are also eco-friendly and powered by solar panels attached to the cabin roof. The design can run fully off the grid, although Becker and Rauch hope that most cabins will tap into the existing urban infrastructure.

"We think people don't need that much space," Becker told Fast Company. "If you ask the young person—we think we're part of the target group, us or even younger people—it's just different what they need. They don't say we need space for a car, space for a TV. They say we need an Internet connection, high-quality bed, high-quality shower. And they rather prefer ecological, high-quality spots over space."

Cabin Spacey also boasts that the units are "easy to transport, easy to install, and easily hooked up." There’s no exact figure for how much the cabins will cost, but the designers believe they can keep the price well under 100,000 euros each. The team is currently running an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds. Beyond the still to be determined production costs, a bigger question is how much unused urban spaces are worth. The tiny cabins would need a rooftop to call home, and just how much one would be sold or rented for is unknown territory.