Park a House in a Parking Spot Instead of a Car

©. Casagrande Laboratory

Or, for that matter, park both a house and a car like Bill Dunster's ZEDpod.

Designboom shows an interesting house designed by Marco Casagrane that sits in a Helsinki parking spot, 2.5m (8'-4") by 7m (23'). It's made of 8"-thick sheets of cross-laminated timber and therefore they claim that no additional insulation is necessary because that's enough for cold winters. Many might argue that point since CLT has an R value of about 1.2 per inch, so that's an R of 9.8, not exactly code anywhere, but we will let that go, because it's got solar panels.


© Jenni gästgivar via DesignboomThe three levels include a workspace, a bedroom and a greenhouse on the top. Somewhere inside is a dry toilet. On his website, architect Casagrande claims that "anywhere a car can go, Tikku can grow."

rooftop garden

© Jenni gästgivar via Designboom

Tikku is a needle of urban acupuncture, conquering the no-man’s land from the cars and tuning the city towards the organic. Many Tikkus can grow side-by-side like mushrooms and they can fuse into larger organisms. Tikku is self-sufficient. It produces its own energy with solar panels and it has dry toilets. Fresh water is carried in. Showers, saunas, laundry machines and food is around. Modern man has to die a bit in order to be reborn.

Tikku was built for Helsinki Design Week and seems more like an art project than a real solution, especially when you carry in water and go somewhere else for a shower. It also entails the loss of a parking space, which is blasphemy.


© ZedFactory

Compare this to Bill Dunster's ZEDpod, seen last week at the Green Building Festival in Toronto. You can tell it is from the UK, or it would be a ZEEpod.

zedpod seciton

© ZedFactory

It is built on stilts, on top of a parking spot. It is a low carbon home designed to sit on top of existing lots, the ultimate in brownfield sites. Some key features:

  • Low carbon homes which reduce strain on the existing infrastructure
  • Built on land outside of the development plan -- there are public parking spaces in the UK with suitability for up to 200,000 ZEDpods
  • Utilise the benefits of car parks such as good transport links, work place locations, in situ local amenities.
Interior of zedpod photo

© ZedFactory

They have everything you need to live:

ZEDpod occupants enjoy their own balcony and front door, a kitchen and dining table, their own bathroom, a lounging space and a stair leading to a mezzanine floor bedspace with home office desk, double bed and wardrobe.
zedpod multiple

© Zedfactory

They can also be ganged together into multiple units, creating covered parking.

The Pods are built to higher standards than conventional homes with superinsulation, vapour permeable draught proofed construction, heat recovery ventilation, aluminium clad triple glazing, hot dip galvanised structural frame with timber infill panels and external insulation. The external envelope is designed to be around 20 years to first maintenance and is constructed from fireproof, durable and robust materials.

ZEDPods_Parking New Homes from ZEDfactory on Vimeo.

They are relocatable, have simple raft foundations that sit right on the parking spot. Dunster goes into great detail on his website about the construction, the solar power and batteries, but does not explain how the "Integrated shower room with water saving taps and spray showers plus wash hand basin" are serviced for water and waste, which is always a problem with these concepts; sewer and water connections are expensive.

But both Tikku and ZEDpod fundamentally try to address the same issue: There are millions of parking spaces out there, 800 million in the USA alone. Surely they could be put to better use.

Bill Dunster

Lloyd Alter/ Bill Dunster in Toronto at Green Building Festival/CC BY 2.0