Home Anywhere: Compact Cabin Hosts Urban Pioneers on Berlin Rooftops

Affordable apartments are getting harder to find in just about every major city, but if we want to multiply our options, we just have to look up. That’s the idea behind Cabin Spacey, a modular cabin project aiming to take advantage of flat urban rooftops and other disused spaces, with the ability to move on to a new location when the time comes. It’s designed to appeal to today’s urban nomad with the knowledge that small, flexible spaces will likely be in demand for a greater percentage of the population in the near future.

In Berlin, where cheap, spacious apartments were abundant just a few years ago, a constant influx of new residents combined with a lull in new construction has tightened up the rental market. Cabin Spacey founders Simon Becker and Andreas Rauch note that the city has space for 55,000 new apartments on unused roofs that are unsuitable for regular development, an opportunity that calls for portable, minimal homes that can be dropped into place and easily hooked up to existing utilities.

Measuring just 25 square meters (about 269 square feet), the cabin has just enough space for two people with a double-height design incorporating a lofted king-size bed, a wardrobe, built-in storage, a daylight bathroom with skylights and a walk-in rain shower, a fully featured kitchenette with a regular-sized cooktop, a multifunctional lounge area that transforms into a guest bed and a dining area for four.

Other features include surround sound, USB docking stations, a laundry machine, an integrated coffee machine, kettle-hot water straight from the tap and a smart home system that manages the heat, sound, Phillips Hue lighting system, smart locks, integration with Amazon Echo and even a smart mirror with face and gesture recognition. The cabin helps produce some of its own energy with rooftop solar panels, too.

The founders hope to break the conventions that dictate that apartments need multiple large rooms in order to be comfortable, while also encouraging us all to rethink the spaces where housing could fit into existing urban landscapes (and they don’t mean moving to the suburbs.)

“CABIN SPACEY was not a pop-up idea,” they say. “It’s a combined answer to several paradigm shifts, newly arisen needs and behavior changes in living and traveling. An increasing demand for mobility is shaping new forms and habits of accommodation. Right in that field of tension we started working.”

“We always dreamed about CABIN SPACEY as the location independent housing solution for the modern metropolitan. As a first move towards the direction of that vision we designed and built a minimal home which is smart and sustainable at the same time. Our overall goal from the beginning was to lower to access barriers to appropriate living space in exceptional locations.”

The prototype is currently on the ground so visitors can check it out, and more are expected to pop up on Berlin rooftops shortly. Cabin Spacey is expected to retail for around €100,000. Follow Cabin Spacey on Facebook and Twitter for updates.