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Tiny House

Modern design meets the soulful whispers of the desert winds.

8/1/24 By Saffron Fellows


The discovery of oil resulted in tremendous prosperity in the Middle East, with Dubai internationally recognised as one of the fastest growing cities in the world. In a very short space of time, local populations have felt a sudden shift from nomadic living to the comfort of modern villas. Our question is this:

How do we maintain roots in traditional Bedouin living amidst the modern metropolis that is the UAE today?

Our Solution:

As architects we were compelled to reconnect with traditional Bedouin desert - dwelling in order to unite modern living with the rich history of the desert. The result...

'Tiny House.'

Nestled in the sand dunes of UAE, Tiny House marries modern architecture with the arid landscape of the desert. The site at Al Marmoom Oasis echoes oases used by Bedouin people for farming and grazing, thus reviving a haven of the past and making it present.

The organic form reflects the context in which it is placed; more specifically the sand dunes which surround the Oasis. The monolithic form also draws on tribal Bedouin dwellings, which were simple structures evolved over time from basic tents.

The free circulation of the space further echoes this, with the sculptural shell of the house from which the furniture is carved creating a clear hierarchy of internal functions.

The desert climate provided numerous constraints which needed to be overcome with careful design. One priority was keeping the space cool - a similar concern for Bedouin tribes. Clustered perforations are scattered across the shell to control the influx natural light. These, combined with accented thresholds allow the building the breathe, providing essential cross ventilation and glimpses to the desert which lies beyond.

User considerations:

Inclusive, accessible design is at the forefront of our approach and served as a key motivator for this design. Alongside its' organic form, the single storey nature of the property ensures 'Tiny House' is a thoughtful dwelling for all. A particular concern of ours was the position of the elderly in a rapidly advancing modern world. Tiny house looks to provide a sanctuary for all, but with a particular emphasis on low maintenance, community living for elderly people.

Construction technology.

There can be no future without the past. It felt essential for us to unify the rich history of life in the desert with the wonders of modern day technology, celebrating both seamlessly. Tiny House looks to achieve this with a distinctly unique construction strategy which utlises 3D printing technology. This approach not only effortlessly creates the dynamic 'dune' like form of the structure, but enables easy scalability and considerably shorter construction time than traditional building.

The materiality of the scheme not only nods to traditional Bedouin dwellings, but ensures that the project addresses the wider climate agenda of the project. Comprised entirely of mud composite, the structure is innately sustainable and can be disassembled at the end of its life without leaving any harmful trace.

Just like the curves and contours of the sand dunes evolve over time, eventually 'Tiny House' will become nothing but a whisper in the winds of the desert.

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