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Put a tiny home on it: Rooftop cabins could help solve Berlin's space crunch

In the past, a cramped basement may been the living solution for people looking to reside in a crowded city. But now, there’s an airier alternative. While we’re throwing parties on our rooftops, a few folks in Berlin are considering turning the tops of their buildings into alternative living spaces, toying with the notion of minuscule houses that sit right on top of the 55,000 unoccupied roofs in the German capital. It’s all the work of two architects named Simon Becker and Andreas Rauch, the masterminds behind Cabin Spacey, which has been heralded as a new urban genre.

Make no mistake — when we say minuscule, we truly mean minuscule. These houses are no more than 250 square feet (or about the size of a New York City studio), but are meant to be inhabited by up to two people. And what they may lack in size, they certainly make up for in functionality — you’ll find a kitchen, bathroom, and even a staircase and accompanying loft in these mini houses. And because the main draw of living on the roof would surely be the views, you’re also privy to enormous windows.


“We think people don’t need that much space,” Simon Becker told Fast Company, “Especially in this time when needs are changing. If you ask the young person — we think we’re part of the target group, us or even younger people — it’s just different what they need. They don’t say we need space for a car, space for a TV. They say we need an Internet connection, high-quality bed, high-quality shower.”

Moreover, Cabin Spacey is eco-friendly, as the tops of these structures are dressed with solar panels that provide the energy for the whole house (and can even help the building below). Noting that today’s urban dwellers “prefer ecological, high-quality spots over space,” Becker added, “If they’re on top of the city with an amazing view, it’s worth so much more than a huge flat.”

Becker and Rauch are relying upon crowdfunding to bring the first prototype to life, and they’re currently about halfway to their goal. So if living on a roof sounds better than living in a windowless railroad studio apartment, this may be something you want to invest in.

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