Students at Norwich University build CASA 802

casa exterior
© CASA 802/ Mark Collier

After Kim covered the Wheelpad, Professor Tolya Stonorov of Norwich University in Vermont wrote to say “hey, look at us!”- they have built CASA 802, described as a “334sf affordable tiny house.”

The CASA (Creating Affordable Sustainable Architecture) 802 is a 324-square-foot micro home that provides sustainable, beautiful housing for people from all income levels. CASA’s immediate and long-term objective is to develop a regionally derived, affordable housing model that offers an alternative to the mobile home.

kitchen© CASA 802

So here we have three different terms for one building- Tiny House, Micro Home and Mobile Home. Which is it? Mobile homes are a term that nobody likes anymore, and since 1976 have been called Manufactured Homes. Micro Home is a term that is not used very much in North America but was common in Europe, and tiny houses are usually no more than 8’-6” wide so that they can be considered recreational vehicles. This unit is 13’-10” wide, which definitely takes it out of the tiny house world. So let’s call it a Micro Home, which I think is a terrific term for a home that is bigger than tiny and smaller than a typical manufactured home.

802 plan© CASA 802

In fact, it is quite generous, with a separate bedroom with lots of storage, a full bathroom and a comfortable living space. The unit is wide enough that one can actually enter into a hall outside the bathroom instead of just falling into the living area. Personally, I would have put the kitchen along that outside wall instead of backed up against the bathroom; their design is more efficient for the plumbing but the room will be harder to furnish.

802 end© CASA 802

Inspired by Vermont’s vernacular architecture, CASA 802 aims to fit into its surroundings with its gabled form and material palette, while simultaneously introducing a new way of living through modern detailing and a reduced footprint.

802 bathroom© CASA 802

Containing all of the essentials for daily life, CASA 802 consists of a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and storage loft. Custom built-in birch plywood furniture provides carefully planned storage, seating and work space. Standing seam metal wraps the roof and long exterior walls; the gable end walls and covered porch are charred local white cedar.

bedroom© CASA 802

Two walls in the bathroom are finished in aluminum for a durable waterproof finish. Plentiful natural light enters through windows and doors to create a bright, welcoming space.

The house used about $30,000 in materials (all good quality, formaldehyde free woods, locally harvested and milled siding and flooring) high efficiency windows, cellulose insulation, and a high efficiency heat pump. Oh, and a reclaimed sap bucket as a bathroom sink.

casa students© CASA 802

Professor Tolya explains the educational benefits of the project :

Beyond providing a similar price-point, sustainable and beautiful alternative to the trailer, CASA 802 encourages experiential learning. The academic design-build studio supports the idea that building, making and designing are intrinsic to each other: knowledge of one strengthens and informs the expression of the other. Hands on learning through the act of building what you design, translates theories and ideas into real world experience. Design-build grounds us in the physicality of the world we live in. Students in the CASA 802 studio gained unique experience through the design and construction of this home.

Nice work by the students and staff of Norwich University.

Tags: Less Is More | Living With Less | Vermont

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