Although a trailer-bound micro-home that’s roughly the size of a McMansion walk-in closet doesn’t exactly scream “American Dream” to most folks, the forward-thinking students enrolled in professor Lucas Brown’s Renewable Energy and Ecological Design (REED) course at Green Mountain College in Vermont have designed a “living system” that responds to what they believe is the new American Dream.
Called Optimal Traveling Independent Space, or OTIS for short, the striking, pod-shaped dwelling rings in at a total of 70-square-feet and, thanks to a rainwater catchment system, wood-burning stove, and 120-watt solar panel, is completely self-sufficient. The toilet, in case you were wondering, is of the composting variety. Perpas most importantly, the petite structure fits snugly onto a 5-by-8-foot utility trailer and can be towed by any four-cyclider vehicle. In other words, you don't necessarily need to borrow your uncle's big ol' pickup to transport your off-the-grid residence from points A to B.
The aerodynamic OTIS truly enables its owner(s) to “go anywhere and do anything,” explains senior Mike Magnotta, who designed the home with 15 of his REED classmates. “At the end of the day, you just need the environment to sustain yourself. You’re not tied down to a piece of land and be stuck somewhere.”
The appeal of living a more nomadic lifestyle represents a new take on the American Dream, especially among students in this millennial generation. Lots of writing on the millennials suggests that our suburban growth model perpetuated over the last 50-60 years is starting to come to and end. They (students) aren’t interested in being tied down with rent or a mortgage right after college. Something about having their own living space which is very low maintenance and very mobile suggests a different set of priorities.
>Intrigued? Check out the below video to learn more about OTIS. There's a lot to like here (love the stained glass door design) but as commenters on other sites have pointed out, there seems to be a lack of insulation (or at least a mention of it) to help keep those rootless, mortgage-eschewing millennnials warm on a cold winter's night.
Related on MNN:
- Mobile tiny house promotes community, connection to nature
- Living the deliberate life in a secondhand camper van [Video]
- Higher learning, green building style, in Vermont [Video]
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