Small and functional homes, stripped of any redundancy and excess but fully expressive nonetheless, are all the rage these days. Making the most of small budgets and smaller footprints, houses built using the principles of cargotecture or shipping container architecture – whether or not they actually are fabricated from intermodal shipping containers – are an eco-friendly architectural response to the so-called ‘slow movement’ that’s invading all corners of contemporary culture.
A stellar example of container house design, The Pocket House’s barely-there infrastructure and open plan is destined to inspire those in search of simplicity and comfort.
Taking a step closer, it’s more than clear that The Pocket House is designed to blend seamlessly with its forested location and provide flawless flow from the interior to the exterior. The wooden decking is continuous with the floor covering used in the slimline living space, the glass facade can slide away for access, and a wall-hung herb garden brings the green indoors. The roadbike isn’t included!
All is on display with The Pocket House, thanks to its open-architecture design philosophy. A gently sloping brick-paved access ramp leads to a timber deck and the glass-fronted facade of the house, which is divided neatly in two by a central support pillar of the steel frame from which the entire structure is hung.
Step indoors and it’s as if you’ve stepped into a treehouse rather than an impersonal modern home. The front living space of The Pocket House is dominated by arboreal tones – wooden flooring mirrored by the wooden ceiling, given rhythm by the cleverly canted wooden panelling of the wall. Simple wooden mid-century Scandinavian furniture dominates and the illusion of infinite space is extended by a floor-to-ceiling Amerindian forest mural.
Turning 180 degrees, you get a peek of the wall-mounted herb garden, compact sink and benchtop combination, and cosy dining area. Meals as simple and natural as The Pocket House’s unobtrusive design are a joy to prepare and serve in this no-fuss, intimate area.
A closer look at the living space shows off The Pocket House’s considered selection when it comes to furnishing. Again, wood and timber tones are used throughout, with this finely carpentered couch a centrepiece. Here you can also see the clever modulation of the parquet timbers used for floor and ceiling cladding throughout – tilting individual slats out adds texture and acoustic baffling…
… which leads us to The Pocket House’s discreet essentials – imaginative ornamentation and a state-of-the-art sound system. Encased in a matching timber motif, this hifi is one for audiophiles. While the nature outdoors offers its own nighttime symphony, those who commissioned this fantastically frugal modern home couldn’t live without their stereo. Or their hi hat stand-mounted flying fish!
Moving to the right-hand wing of The Pocket House, on the other side of the woodland mural that adorns one end of the living quarters, we reach the bedroom. Clever use of mirror walls and glass carries on the play with space that characterises the home, making it pleasurably difficult to map unless you have the honour of actual occupation.
Between the bedroom and the living area is a surprisingly spacious toilet-bathroom combination, glimpsed here from a different angle. It may appear to suffer from a distinct lack of privacy, but the design of the Pocket House combats this with judicious use of slim interior panelling, mirroring, and blinds.
From this angle you gain a better understanding of how this container house packs so much utility into its tiny footprint. The toilet and open shower cubicle is partitioned off by glass, with a beautiful basic stand and towel rack positioned outside the bathroom proper.
This shot shows how finely structured The Pocket House really is. The living room’s forest mural is set on paper thin, but incredibly safe and durable glass and steel panelling. Note how the strip lighting set where wall and ceiling meet is carried through the length of the dwelling, providing continuity and a simple lighting solution in a design where space is at an absolute premium.
A masterwork of minimal modern living design, The Pocket House shines in the twilight. It’s an incredibly simple design that nonetheless packs in all the features and amenities that a contemporary home requires. Plus, lest we forget to look up, the oft-neglected roof has its own role – a full-length, glass-walled terrace shaded by palms and open to the starlight.