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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 November 2005, 07:23 GMT
Germany tests 9ft 'micro-house'
By David Sillito
BBC News Arts correspondent

Models of micro-houses
The pods have been designed so four people can dine inside
A "micro-house" created by British architect Richard Horden is being tested by students in Munich, Germany.

It has two bedrooms, a lounge, a dining room, a kitchen and a bathroom, and it is just 9ft by 9ft by 9ft.

The mini-home is already being looked at by a number of local authorities in Britain as way of dealing with short term shortages in accommodation.

It could also be a self-contained home for elderly relatives or teenagers and can be sited in a garden.

Inside the cube, the entrance lobby also doubles as a shower and a toilet.

A double bed folds down over the lounge area which within seconds can be turned into a dining room that can seat four people or even a spare bedroom.

The seats are also storage cupboards and can be cleared away to create a space in which three or four people can dance to the inbuilt surround sound system.

Small village

The structure has been designed around ideas from 200 architecture students and a small village is now being set up in the campus of Munich University.

It's very comfortable, a maximum of comfort in this minimal cube
Dieter Massberg
Munich University

The university is keen to test the idea as it has around 90,000 students and only around 10,000 apartments. It has already tried using sea containers as flats but the new micro-house is half their size.

The pods can be stacked on one another or laid out in small colonies.

The architects behind the scheme say they are perhaps too small to live in permanently but can offer everything someone would need for a few months before they find a permanent home.

The buildings can be carried on the back of a truck and it is hoped they will provide local authorities with a way of using plots of land that are vacant for a few years, especially those awaiting development.

The head of the university's student accommodation, Dieter Massberg, said: "I am sure I can live in this house, not for some years but for some months.

"It's very comfortable, a maximum of comfort in this minimal cube. It's a very intelligent construction."

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