Christopher Strom Architects Wins “Best Contemporary” in Architects Challenge

Shelving divides the living room and bedroom.

A tiny house, designed by Christopher Strom of Christopher Strom Architects as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) for a Minneapolis resident, won the “Best Contemporary” category in Marvin Window and Doors’ annual Architects Challenge design competition earlier this year.

Strom took inspiration from brightly hued Norwegian fishing villages and the traditional red barn for the narrow, two-story building. “There’s something so unique about this form that I wanted to give some personality to it,” he says. The ADU’s design was also inspired by necessity: It was constructed on the 380-square-foot foundation of a torn-down garage. “It (was) a really good design problem for us,” Strom says. “You have to consider every square foot.”

His team divided the space into four zones: a kitchen and dining area, bedroom, living room, and bathroom (the bathroom is the only fully separate room). A vaulted ceiling divides the kitchen from the rest of the house, and shelving acts as a divider between the bedroom and living room. Given the narrow lot, the team couldn’t build out. Instead, they built up. The volume of the vertical space as well as the use of glass and partial-wall partitions give the dwelling an open, airy feel belying its tiny footprint. “Because it has four sides of glass, it doesn’t feel claustrophobic,” explains Strom.

Vertical siding and large awning windows lend the structure a fresh, contemporary feel—a modern, metropolitan twist on rural Scandinavian design.

By Jahna Peloquin. Photo by Alyssa Lee Photography

 

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