Design observation tower overlooking the mysteriously beautiful Grjótagjá caves in northern Iceland
Great architecture doesn’t need to be big to make a big impression. Working with limited resources and restricted space can bring out some of the world’s brightest architectural gems. From tiny homes to tiny churches, the square footage of a structure has never been a defining character of fantastic design.
The smallest house in Amsterdam is a popular tourist attraction, located at Oude Hoogstraat 22 in the old city center of Amsterdam. The house measures just 2.02 meters (6 feet 8 inches) wide and 5 meters (16 feet 5 inches) deep, colloquially referred to as the “Smallest house of Europe” and is a fairly typical representation of an Amsterdam canal house, only miniaturised.
Purchased by the city, Amsterdam’s smallest house is just 5 metres deep and 2 metres wide. Image source
Located on the edge of the former site of the Sint-Paulusbroederklooster monastery, this small strip of land was purchased by the city after adjacent buildings were demolished in 1733. When originally constructed, the house consisted of just one storey, and between 1768 and 1787, two upper floors and an attic were built.
The world’s smallest church is located southwest of Festina, Iowa in the United States. Measuring a meagre 12 ft by 16 ft (or 3.7 metres by 4.9 metres), St. Anthony of Padua Chapel is able to seat a maximum of eight people. The privately-owned tiny church is open to the public at no cost during regular opening hours.
Built as a thank you for returning her son home safely from war, St. Anthony of Padua Chapel is just 12 feet by 16 feet. Image source
The church was originally constructed to fulfill a vow made by Johann Gaertner's mother. She swore that she would construct a chapel to God should He return her son safely from Napoleon’s Russian campaign. The soldier returned home unharmed, and as a result the chapel was built from locally-quarried stone in 1885.
Created as a new concept for luxury camping and sustainable tourism, Carrés d'étoiles are cube-shaped micro houses that allow guests to sleep under the stars in amazing locations across France. Constructed from recycled wood, the cube features a platform bed underneath a transparent dome, as well as a €500 astronomical telescope, a star chart and astronomy games, making it ideal for stargazers.
Carrés d'étoiles are mini-mobile homes that are the perfect getaway for star gazers in France. Image source
The portable cabins were designed to stand almost anywhere which having little to no impact on the natural environment. Created by Louis and Nathalie Blanco, there are currently 23 cubes available for rent in 12 locations across France, including the bucolic Omignon wildflower meadow site in Picardy in the north, and a site on the banks of the Durance river in deepest Provence.
The tiny house movement has built up momentum, especially in the wake of the economic downturn, and a growing number of people are downsizing in order to be more economical and ecological. Tiny House UK is a UK-based company that provides a special Tiny House Kit for those looking to keep things small.
Ecological and economical tiny homes start at just £6,500. Image source
They look similar in size to a typical garden shed, but inside are extremely comfortable, boasting all the modern amenities including domestic appliances, composting WC and kitchen units sold as extras. Warm, cozy, and starting at just £6,500, these miniature mobile homes could offer a viable alternative for first-time buyers.
Coffee Shop culture is bigger than ever, and Northern Europe have officially claimed the title of the biggest coffee-drinking countries in the world. Countries like Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden are all in the top ten, with as much as 12 kg of coffee per person being consumed each year!
To help the Scandinavians keep warm during the winter months, Bee Breeders is partnering with “Kremm Coffee and Gelato” for the Big Tiny Coffee House Challenge to create a series of iconic coffee kiosks that could be constructed in capital cities across Europe.