How big of a house does one really need? Typically, when someone is looking for a house, they are merely looking at what is available, not what is possible. We’ve talked about the Tiny House Movement before, but as of yet, in Buffalo, we haven’t seen anything become of it other than talk. A fairly small house is located at the corner of Bryant and Ashland. And developer Rocco Termini once talked about building a complex with tiny units, but that’s about it.
There’s one thing to be said for tiny house. There’s another thing to be said for tiny houses that can be stacked into rack systems, which combine to form modular buildings. That’s essentially what’s possible with the Kasita home – a house that was dreamed up by professor Jeff Wilson who wanted to create the ‘iPhone for housing’. The owner of the unit could literally have his or her pad picked up and moved to another rack system in another city, something akin to “vertical RV parks”.
While this type of living might not be for everyone, there are plenty of people who would appreciate a more compact lifestyle, including transient young people, military personnel, environmentalists, people who travel for a living, people who want to live closer to work and who can’t afford typically expensive urban living…
A total of 5000 hours of engineering went in completing the beta version. Kasita incorporates electrochromic glass panels that lighten and darken by use of an app, or according to the sun’s position in the sky (it’s dynamic glass). Altogether, the prototype Kasita is 208 square feet, with the potential for outdoor living space or common areas that people can share. The production version that Wilson is on the process of rolling out would be 320 square feet. Even at that size, the micro unit will be able to be transported by an 18-wheeler truck, according to Wilson.
“The problem with tiny houses is the coding, the permitting and the land,” said Wilson. “And the land’s the most difficult issue to solve because the folks who usually have the land are not the folks that need affordable housing. So our model allows the folks that have the land to highly monetize that land while providing home ownership to someone.”
Ultimately, one of the greatest Kasita benefits is that of home ownership. According to Wilson, someone who typically rents a one bedroom apartment would be able to purchase a Kasita unit (in a rack environment). The cost would obviously be higher if someone was to purchase property and “install” one of these. The other option would be for property owners to “construct” these as rentals. The plan is to assemble thousands of Kasinas, which would keep the price down.
“So folks aren’t going to be flying around all the time in their Kasitas, but in 5 years let’s say you want to move your Kasita, we can pull you out of that rack, put you on an 18-wheeler truck and move you to another rack or put it in a backyard,” explained Wilson. “So you’re no longer bound to the land that you own your house on and we think that that’s the way that the world is moving.”
The Kasita is versatile. It can be placed high atop buildings, or it can occupy a small plot of land. As people start looking for less expensive places to live, they are not going to want to make too many sacrifices. The Kasita is nothing but upside for many people who want to live minimally, while still loving where they dwell.