The Ultimate DIY Project: GAIA, Featured in Graphis Journal #370

Want to build your own place of rest and relaxation but don’t know where to start? Want to find building plans that are easy to understand? Then GAIA is for you.

Architect Joshua Woodsman of Pin-Up Houses, based in the Czech Republic, designed this ingenious and self-sufficient house, using a shipping container as a base. Everything has a place, including a convertible sofa bed and an outdoor terrace that can be folded up to cover the sliding glass doors during inclement weather. The terrace and the open doors at one end of the house help to let in light and air for the small living space. There are cleverly designed built-in storage nooks throughout, as well as room for a small table and two chairs.

The house does not need any external sources of energy or water, (though the owner will have to figure out a way to tap into Wi-Fi), as it has solar panels and a wind turbine, which power the refrigerator, water heater, and other appliances. The power level can even be monitored through a mobile app. The roof is covered with a galvanized corrugated metal sheet for additional protection, and it extends beyond the container’s structure to increase rainwater capture. The rainwater is then filtered and stored in a 1,000-liter water tank and distributed for use in the kitchen and the bathroom.

Gaia is created using a 20’ or 6-meter shipping container, with 132-square feet of interior living space. The inside uses spruce plywood and wooden studs, and is sprayed with thermal insulation to ensure a comfortable temperature throughout the year. There’s even room for a small wood-burning stove. “I’ve slept in Gaia when it’s -15ºC and it’s comfortable,” said Woodsman. Woodsman estimates it takes about $21,000 and three months to build Gaia.

To learn more about other building designs, preorder Graphis Journal #370 now.

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