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Czechmate: Tiny prefab retreat allows for glorious, grid-free independence
From Czech architect Marek Štěpán comes Freedomky, a stylish prefab retreat that's affordable, easy to install and — thanks to an optional 'independence' package — is capable of liberating its inhabitants from the grid.
Mon, Aug 06, 2012 at 5:28 PM
It’s the beginning of August and you know what that means: time to fantasize about getting out of the stuffy, sweltering city or suburbs and holing up in a teeny, tiny shack somewhere in the woods that’s in close proximity to a.) a pond, lake or creek b.) an adorable small town in which to buy provisions c.) a drive-in movie theater d.) a major highway in case you can't take the bugs anymore and need to make a quick escape. Okay, so now you know what I’ve been fantasizing about lately.
While I’ve featured plenty of notable off-the-grid retreats
of the prefabricated variety
in the past, here’s a lovely new addition in which to unleash your wildest semi-Thoreauvian
, a green prefab shelter designed by Brno, Czech Republic-based architect Marek Štěpán of Atelier Štěpán
, is actually a couple of years old, but it's been making waves around the green design blogosphere over the past few days (hat tip to TreeHugger
) due to its unfussy minimalist design, compact size, and the fact that it can be assembled in just a few hours — five to be exact — without any special skills or tools.
Plus, thanks to an optional “Independence Module” package, you can take your 248-square-foot (or 409-square-foot if you opt for the larger, four-person model dubbed the 2PlusClassic) modular hermitage that’s manufactured from “ecologically benign” materials completely off the grid with a photovoltaic array, back-up diesel generator, solar thermal system, and waste-treatment unit. Don't want the whole self-sufficient shebang? You can install the above features a la carte as well.
Also optional is a special energy package that includes a heat recovery ventilator, air-to-heat pump, and extra layers of insulation. A porch will cost you extra, too (and of course you'd want one). At it’s most basic, the Freedomky includes a living room, kitchenette, bedroom, bathroom (with toilet), and plenty of cleverly concealed storage space, as the units are “furnished with efficiency in mind.” In other words, they’re not meant to be filled with crap and knick-knacks. Heating (check out that woodstove) and other basic components along with LED lighting is also included.
A Freedomky is an artfully conceived home that prioritizes the efficient use of space, high quality, and low ecological impact. It provides a level of comfort suitable to your particular needs. It is less expensive than a traditional flat and designed to enable complete independence from utility networks. A Freedomky sets you free — all you need is a suitable plot of land and the will to live a little differently from the rest.
I like the sound of it. All you need now is a cool vintage sports car like the one pictured above and a decent stereo system in which to blast George Michael
. Sadly, Freedomkies (?) are only available in Europe at the moment with models having been installed in both the Czech Republic and Switzerland (the original prototype was installed in the middle of one of my favorite places on earth, Prague’s Wenceslas Square, in 2010). Starting prices
, sans optional bells and whistles, appear to range from $35,000 for a smaller unit to a little over $75 grand for the larger model. Plenty more infoy — in Englishy — and imagery over at the Freedomky homepage
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