South Africa-based architect Clara da Cruz Almeida collaborated with local design firm Dokter+Misses to re-imagine a refreshing take on versatile miniature living. The financial barriers experienced by young professionals in South Africa inspired da Cruz Almeida to envision a plan for a detached, sustainable, affordable home that is equal parts airy and efficient.
POD-idladla, a 186-square-foot “life pod”—constructed from steel, aluminum, glass, and wood—features a glass-front façade and several side windows to promote cross ventilation. The units are mobile and can be easily transported, allowing inhabitants to occupy a home without owning the land.
Sporting a clean, minimal aesthetic, the interior has a soft-toned palette of white accented with mint and gray that creates a soothing background against which to juxtapose local designer Nicole Levenberg’s bolder, hand-drawn textiles that cover the furniture and pillows.
With respect to its miniature proportions, POD-idladla’s units are designed to avoid clutter with plenty of enclosed storage that can double as a display, and decorative accents, such as orange electrical cords. The unit’s tables, couches, and sleeping surfaces are all collapsable.
Each of the units are equipped with solar arrays to sustainably supply the structure’s electrical needs. The white exterior walls help reflect the sun, and a shaded “deck” circulates ventilated air.
Tailored to each client’s specifications, each home is customized off-site before being transported to its destination. Measuring 17 square-meters, the compact structure requires minimal resources and assembly, which makes for an economical solution for Johannesburg’s young professionals.
Its modular design allows the owner to connect and combine additional units to form larger, multi-use living spaces and adapt the structure to the different stages of its owners’ lives. POD-idladla units are currently available in a single, standard size, and for shipping within South Africa.
"With a tiny house you need to get out, to live in society— go to the theatre, go to the movies, interact with other people," says architect Clara da Cruz Almeida. "We can learn to live without all these excess [material] things. It's about making life simpler."