Part prefab mobile camping unit, part green garden shed and part small-space summer cabin, this tiny, portable, light-weight wooden ‘home’ structure dubbed Walden is a modern reinterpretation of the nature-oriented attitudes of Henry David Thoreau. Most impressive of all: cabin fever is not a concern – the ultra-narrow design makes up for in extreme openness what it lakes in square footage.
Barely wider than a standard swing door, the residence by German architect Nils Holger Moormann accommodates a surprising breadth of domestic activities. An open-sided living, dining and reading room sits in the middle and seats four – two per side, facing one another. The exterior walls have a series of built-in cabinets that serve as woodshed-style storage for gardening implements and cupboards for tableware, decorative objects, even a barbeque.
Open to nature (and view) on the main level, this tiny home still has a few secrets accessible up a set of stairs on one end. These are accessed via a door along a skinny side that takes the occupant up to a relatively-enclosed loft bedroom space.
The private sleeping quarters have small slot windows for side views but also a large roof-spanning skylight that slides open for more light, air and a straight-up look to the night sky when lying down. Sure, it is narrow for a double bed, but how wide would it really need to be to sleep a single person (or a skinny pair)?
Famous for works like Civil Disobedience (in which he encourages resistance against overly-controlling governments), Thoreau is perhaps most well known as an advocate of simple living in natural surroundings. As something that can be placed on private land but equally well in a public park, this structure reflects his attitudes toward both individual independence and cultivated simplicity.
“‘Walden. Or Life in the woods’ is the name of the 19 century classic by the American author Henry David Thoreau. The idea of a simple life in harmony with nature was also the driving force behind our Walden. The result is a garden house on an extremely narrow plot, which combines a high standard of living quality with countless detailed solutions, a stringent principle of order and generous storage space.”