Millennials are commonly known for eschewing the lifestyle choices of previous generations, choosing to do things differently and, often, more conscientiously when it comes to the Earth and the environment. The popularity of tiny houses demonstrates a rejection of material goods, although ironically, sometimes tiny houses can cost more than full-sized ones. And the tinier they get, the more they seem to cost. That’s the case with a new neighborhood that has sprung up in California’s Monterey Peninsula, about an hour south of Silicon Valley.
The community, called Walden Monterey, is set up on 609 acres of land and is intended to be an “agrihood” community, which focuses on nature, farming and the outdoors. There are two rules for the community: don’t take down any trees, and use only renewable energy sources. Eventually, 22 homes will be built on the land, but developer Nick Jekogian and design studio DFA are inviting people to stay on the land in temporary homes where they can experience the setting and decide whether or not they want to move there permanently.
DFA calls the temporary structures Galina Sleeping Pods, and they’re truly tiny – about 300 square feet in size. The cost, however, is not tiny – about $250,000. These are definitely living quarters designed to cater to the Silicon Valley elite. The 3D printed portable structures are powered by solar panels, wind turbines and Tesla batteries. The water system draws from an atmospheric water generator which recycles all wastewater through organic filtration.
3D printing allows for the construction of the pods to be 97% waste efficient. The frame of the pod is 3D printed from a carbon fiber-infused bio-material by Branch Technology, which has been working with NASA to design 3D printed structures for the moon and Mars, and it sits on four aluminum legs that hold the pod above the ground and avoid disturbing any plant or animal life underneath.
The pods are 3D printed offsite and are portable, meaning that prospective home buyers can move them to different areas of the property as they decide where they want to live. Sleeping accommodations are included, as well as a toilet, sink and shower.
Much has been made of 3D printing for construction purposes, for buildings both large and small. Yet it is these tiny homes where 3D printing seems to be proving the most practical and useful. Whether they’re being used to house rich people or the homeless, these podlike structures lend themselves naturally to 3D printing. It’s fast, inexpensive, and creates almost no waste, which is perfect for a community based on responsible stewardship of the environment.
Laith Sayigh, Founder of DFA, calls 3D printed homes like these “the next generation of construction technology.” That sentiment has been shared by many, and as the millennial generation continues to gravitate towards minimalism and downsizing, as well as renewable resources, we may see more and more tiny, self-sufficient homes like these ones. One day, they may even become so prevalent that they’ll become affordable for more than just the wealthy.
Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the comments below.[Images: DFA]