Cabin Spacey, a Berlin-based housing startup that may or may not be named in homage to the man who played Keyser Söze, firmly believes that living in the city doesn’t necessarily mean restricting oneself to a cramped, overpriced shoebox located several flights up and down a long, dim hallway.
As envisioned by architects Simon Becker and Andreas Rauch, said shoebox could also come in the form of a compact yet comfortable dwelling perched high above the city on an available rooftop — something that affordable housing-starved Berlin apparently has in spades. According to Becker (“Designer of Future Housing and Mobility in Cities”) and Rauch (“Architect and Wunderkind in Operations”), there are roughly 55,000 rooftops spread across Germany's largest city that are "unsuitable for regular development.”
These rooftops are suitable, however, for freestanding micro-homes designed specifically to “exploit untapped potential” of vacant urban spaces while attracting young and flexibility-seeking city-dwellers.
Now seeking crowdfunding support on Indiegogo to help move the Cabin Spacey concept forward and build a prototype unit on a vacant Berlin rooftop (as of publication, the project is 106 percent funded), Becker and Rauch are wading into familiar territory here. We’ve seen prefabricated rooftop dwellings before as a means of harnessing available space to build new, much-needed urban housing.
However, Cabin Spacey is unique in that it isn’t just geared for roofs. As the duo explains the “easy to transport, easy to install” two-person abode (total footprint: 215 square feet) can also be plunked down on an “urban wasteland or parking lot” — any vacant space in which a plucky urban nomad can easily hook up to existing utilities and infrastructure. As the startup explains, Cabin Spacey enables a “confident generation to unlock new oases in the urban jungle.”
Offering “easy access to new, innovative, and purist living spaces for urban nomads or anyone else fed up with the restrictions of traditional living,” part of Cabin Spacey’s appeal is that it’s a sort of next-gen mobile home. That is, if said urban nomad grows tired of the urban jungle, he or she can feasibly move the dainty little porta-home to more bucolic trappings. In just a few days, the tiny house on the roof could become the tiny house in the woods. And when Herr or Frau Spacey are ready to return to the city, the tiny timber-framed abode can be relocated once again.
While Cabin Spacey very much falls into the “micro” category, Becker and Rauch have managed to pack in a large number of features into the home’s diminutive footprint including an array of sustainable bells and whistles like a rooftop solar panel unit and integrated battery system that allows the home to operate off the grid if need be. Any excess power generated can be shared with the “host” building.
Also equipped with a smart home system, the cabin’s interior is largely transformative and multifunctional — think fold-down furniture and plenty of clever built-ins. As Co.Exist points out, the windows are appropriately oversized for optimum rooftop views.
Given that Cabin Spacey is in the early stages of development, it’s unclear when — or if — the units will become commercially available and how much they’ll cost, although Becker and Rauch estimate they’ll be well under the 100,000 euro mark.
“We want to let Cabin Spacey rain like Tetris on the city and fill all these small spaces,” Becker tells Co. Exist.
Head on over to the Cabin Spacey Indiegogo campaign page to help, well, make it rain. Perks for supporting the project vary, although donors who pledge $150 will be invited to have a sleepover in the very first Cabin Spacey unit once its built and installed.
Bring binoculars, a sleep mask and season four of "House of Cards."