Tiny house + parking garage = the future of urban housing?

SCADpad tiny house
© SCADpad

Living in a tiny house can make a lot of sense if you have a place to put one, which can be relatively easy to do if you live in the country or a suburban area that doesn't have rigorous restrictions on backyard structures or dwellings, but if you live in the city, finding a spot for a tiny house can be rather difficult.

But a new project from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has one possible solution for urban sustainable living, which is to build micro-houses that fit inside the footprint of a standard parking space, and then place them in parking garages in small communities.

According to the SCADpad project's site, there are currently 105 million parking spaces in the US (said to be five spaces for each car), and that at least half of those parking spaces are vacant 40% of the time, which means that there's a whole lot of empty space that could be used for housing with the right type of structure. And the right type of structure for living in a small footprint such as a parking space might be tiny houses similar to the prototypes that SCADpad has built, which will fit inside a standard parking space measuring 16' by 8'.

"SCADpad evolved from one powerful question: How can design change the world? As our global population continues to grow and concentrate in cities, SCAD, as a transformer in art and design education, has cultivated an entirely new vision of an urban community." - SCADpad

These micro-houses are designed to be fully self-sufficient, with a kitchen, bathroom, and adaptable living space inside the 135 square foot dwellings, and to share a common green space with other units to create a community feeling. The green space includes an organic community garden, fed by a greywater system, and a shared recycling and composting center aims to minimalize the waste from the units. A maker space ("rapid prototyping area") that has a 3D printer for customizing the units allows residents to make the tiny houses better suit their individual needs, and a daylight harvesting structure on the roof of the parking garage brings sunlight to the interior of the micro-community.

The three prototype SCADpad units went from concept to completion in 10 months, thanks to the work of an interdisciplinary group of SCAD students, faculty, and alumni, and future units are said to be able to be built in 1 to 2 months, at a base cost of $40,000 each.

The project currently has three prototypes of these unique tiny houses, which are installed in a parking garage on the SCAD campus, and students will be living in them for the next couple of months beginning April 15th to test them out and give feedback on their design and function.

The three units each have a different theme, built to reflect the culture and design aesthetic of different locations, including North America, Europe, and Asia, and feature smart interactive home controls for efficient sustainable living.

"Each SCADpad is personalized with a theme associated with the university’s global locations: North America, representing Atlanta and Savannah; Europe, representing Lacoste, France; and Asia, representing Hong Kong. The micro homes feature custom exterior and interior elements, modular wall systems, automated home control, sustainable waste management and multifunctional, multipurpose 3D printed furniture."

If you'd like to see these SCADpad tiny houses in person, there a range of dates (starting this weekend) for tours at their location at 1600 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, or if you're not in the area, you can follow along and interact with this urban micro-house project on social media by following the hashtag #SCADpad. At our sister site, MNN, Matt Hickman has more pictures of the finished prototypes and some insights from a visit to the SCADpads.

What do you think? Would you, or could you, live in tiny house in a parking garage, especially if it meant being able to reduce your rent costs by as much as 40%?

Tiny house + parking garage = the future of urban housing?
Could you live in a tiny house community in a parking structure? You might want to, once you learn about the SCADpad project.

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