June 20, 2011

The billboard-style house.

"The SINGLE HAUS is designed to fill the niche for building in extreme/hard-to-settle landscapes such as marshes, cliff sides, lakes, and even in place of old highway billboards."

This is just a design, and there's no interior floor plan, but I'm fascinated by it. Maybe I'd just like to see a movie about people living in places like this... after the ocean levels rise, perhaps.

ADDED: The Single Hauz — spelled differently — was featured on BLDGBLOG 4 years ago:
Could you use the mast-and-cantilever model for other types of architectural structures, whether those are single-family houses – whole cul-de-sacs lined with modernist billboard homes! – or even restaurants and public libraries?

The Single Hauz shows how beautiful the effect could be.
What about the commercial potential? These pictures don't show the building actually being used as a billboard, but why not? You could pay for your housing by collecting advertising revenue.

Or perhaps the house could be a blog, covered in plasma-screen, with a column of advertising on the right, and new text appearing, typed up fresh by the resident of the billboard-house... BillboardHouseBlog.

ALSO: It taps into that part of us that imagines we'd like to live in a treehouse... or that likes to think about pillar saints, like Simeon Stylites:

This first pillar was little more than four meters high, but his well-wishers subsequently replaced it with others, the last in the series being apparently over 15 meters from the ground. At the top of the pillar was a platform, with a baluster, which is believed to have been about one square metre....

Edward Gibbon in his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire describes Simeon's existence as follows:
In this last and lofty station, the Syrian Anachoret resisted the heat of thirty summers, and the cold of as many winters. Habit and exercise instructed him to maintain his dangerous situation without fear or giddiness, and successively to assume the different postures of devotion. He sometimes prayed in an erect attitude, with his outstretched arms in the figure of a cross, but his most familiar practice was that of bending his meagre skeleton from the forehead to the feet; and a curious spectator, after numbering twelve hundred and forty- four repetitions, at length desisted from the endless account. The progress of an ulcer in his thigh might shorten, but it could not disturb, this celestial life; and the patient Hermit expired, without descending from his column.
Even on the highest of his columns, Simeon was not withdrawn from the world. If anything, the new pillar drew even more people, not only the pilgrims who had come earlier but now sightseers as well. Simeon made himself available to these visitors every afternoon... In contrast to the extreme austerity that he demanded of himself, his preaching conveyed temperance and compassion, and was marked with common sense and freedom from fanaticism. 


Curious George said...

"...marshes, cliff sides, lakes..."

DNR wouldn't say "no way". They would say "no f*cking way"

wv: ilifyi What the male partner of an ice skating partners team would say.

Fred4Pres said...

I think they would prove to be an eyesore if mass produced, and I suspect they would not be that cheap to construct, but they are definitely a cool concept for some tight locations.

Carol_Herman said...

A friend of mine, who lived in Pasadena, took her garage. And, rented out the space she created. It had a small kitchen. And, a smaller bathroom. Maybe, even a wall and door to create a small bedroom. It wasn't legal.

When she sold that house she had to take out the kitchen sink and stove, I think. The city sent an inspector. And, you needed to pass this, before your house could officially be sold. (The bathroom, I think, is allowed. As would be a washer/dryer.)

But for my friend it was monthly income. She was a stay-at-home mom. Her husband still has the first nickel he ever earned. And, parking her car, outside, on a private street, broke no laws.

When she went to sell, she had already built a second apartment on top of her garage. And, this, she explained to the man who bought her home ... gave him a way to pay his mortgage. And, so a home on a not very desirable block, had a wonderful selling feature.

As long as you create space with plumbing. And, electricity. You don't need very much space to have space others would pay to rent.

The worst part of "building in the woods" ... is theft. Locals would see "new stuff" ... and you wouldn't have your cozy retreat when you returned to it.

Peter Hoh said...

They'd be easier to defend than most traditional houses, should the zombie apocalypse descend upon us.

bagoh20 said...

Needs some curves if you want me to pay to go in there.

Even then you need to grease that pole.

murgatroyd666 said...

I'd love to watch them try to get furniture up those stairs.

And from the dimensions, that appears to be a two-story floor plan ... with no windows in the upper story.

I think they would prove to be an eyesore if mass produced, and I suspect they would not be that cheap to construct, but they are definitely a cool concept for some tight locations.

People have been doing far more interesting things with shipping containers.

wv: hammsbi -- hammsbi, from the land of sky-blue wati

Werehawk said...

Interesting idea but one with quite a few flaws...

But in any place with high winds or hurricane risk those structures would probably get blown over in no time flat under the right conditions.

Carol_Herman said...

You know where this idea started out, don't cha? Shipping containers. At some point they're sold.

And, an architect took one. Cut in a door. And, windows. And, created a "home" out of this stock of old shipping containers.

Heck, most truckers know how to ship a shipping container, too.

Meanwhile, whatever you build. You have to get to. So moving furniture up the ladder, would be a major drawback ... for instance, when you wanted to move in heavy stuff. (Including a plasma TV).

And, then, of course, getting mail delivery. I suppose at some point you need to do what condos do. And, that is give the postman space where he leaves the mail for everyone living in a unit.

Oh, and if you really want to see ugly living spaces, look at what colleges do to "house" students!

Maybe, that's why students need to stay drunk all of the time?

While, this would be true, too, for those who see the "Hauz" ... in the daylight. But never think of what it's like to lumber home on a "dark and stormy night."

MayBee said...

There was a little store in Tokyo that was basically one of these, but not on a mast.

A bunch of houses on a mast would not really be beautiful from ground level.
And commercial buildings with 5,000 tightly spiraling stairs to get to the front door seems uninviting.

Phil 3:14 said...

Its so easy when you have no actual architectural and engineering plans.

I say we accomplish the flying cars that were promised to us before we look at any "Billboard Homes"

Does this mean you've given up on your fascination with "wee" homes?

MayBee said...

Here it is.

It sold purses and bags.

Peter Hoh said...

The link to Simeon Stylites needs fixing. There's an extra "h" in the code.

edutcher said...

Who designed it, Viacom?

Chip S. said...

Seems like the plumbing would offer excellent flow.

deborah said...

I want one:


clint said...

My first thought on seeing those: Cool!

My second thought is of someone living in a flood plain, watching the flood go by.

My third thought is of a flood washing out the foundation, and the house falling over into the flood waters.

Somewhat less cool.

Perhaps there's an Obama analogy in there somewhere?

Henry said...

I've been following the prefab house idea for a while and there are many very cool ideas out there.

They just aren't affordable.

They're affordable in concept. They're affordable in the box. They're even affordable delivered -- except for the ones that need a crane for placement. For those you need a host of permits which may cost more than the house. The kit houses, delivered by truck, avoid that problem.

But then you need a contractor. Even if you're your own contractor you need to not need a job for six months.

And then you pay for for a plumber and electrician to hook you up to water and power. That's not a DIY job.

I wish they were more affordable. I like them a lot. These are not ugly at all.

Carol_Herman said...

Since it's a "billboard style house ... will people be paid money to drop neon signs in front of their abodes. It's just space someone would pay to use.

TomHynes said...

Not a billboard, but for a mere $4,000 per week you can live in a water tower.


Carol_Herman said...


Does anyone remember the Berma Shave jingles? You had to travel the country road ... (This was before our freeways) ... And, Berma Shave did one billboard following another ... It was so clever. But I can't remember even one jingle.

MarkG said...

Septic system design would be interesting. You can't just drill a hole in the floor. Well, maybe in Poland you can but not here.

Indigo Red said...

Billboard hoouse floorplan is here:

galdosiana said...

This did seem like a cool idea at first, but I agree with some of the commenters here regarding the more substantial flaws in the design. I love to see alternative housing ideas, and I'm also fascinated by small spaces.

@Carol: Those shipping container houses are pretty neat! Too bad they're so expensive!

ampersand said...

Here you go

burma shave

Dust Bunny Queen said...


How do they handle the plumbing and sewage?

I love the architects. Dream big impractical dreams. Charge your clients hundreds of thousands of dollars for the dream, which turns into a nightmare for the plumber or electrician trying to build the stupid thing. Who gets blamed when the house turns out to be a piece of shit, where the plubming never drains or the water pressure is bad?......not the architect.

Chip S. said...

DBQ, I just assumed that the plumbing was contained inside the pole. I mean, where else could it be?

A trap door, perhaps. It would save water.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

DBQ, I just assumed that the plumbing was contained inside the pole. I mean, where else could it be?

Probably so, pumping the water up to the level and keeping pressure would require some heavier lifting, especially if there were a flock of these things.

Contrary to popular belief, when you flush the toilet the poop doesn't just magically disappear.

In addition if the water, sewer and electric is all enclosed in the pole, maintenance is going to be a nightmare. You will probably have to use those 4 year old kids since they will be the only ones small enough to fit inside where the components are located.

Also. Insulating your water supply lines from freezing will be very difficult, expensive and probably impossible in a tube like that.

I know. Debbie Downer :-D

Chip S. said...

Insulating your water supply lines from freezing will be very difficult, expensive and probably impossible in a tube like that.

There's a reason so many of the cool, modernist houses are in the Southwest.

ambisinistral said...

I wrote about this a while ago in the post Billboard Houses.

I even included my own design for one.

Titus said...

I don't care for these but I am a big fucking whore for tiny houses.

If and when I actually decide to have my own home, I will sell by loft which currently is undervalued at 750k and buy a really adorable prefab cute little home or "cottage".

I am expecting it to be around 1000 square feet. Not as tiny as the really tiny places but everything in it will be top quality, steelish, ton's of windows and one bedroom.

The doorbell will be in the shape of a large tit and will "moo" when it is rang. Totally avant gard

AST said...

It taps into that part of us that imagines we'd like to live in a treehouse... or that likes to think about pillar saints, like Simeon Stylites

Really? What part is that?

After watching operations at a small port in the Caribbean for an afternoon, I began to wonder why we couldn't just ship a bunch of empty steel shipping containers to Haiti and let the locals adapt them for dwellings. Much less likely to collapse in future earthquakes, they fit together like Legos and can be locked in place.

If fact there are organizations that have followed that very approach, especially for specialized buildings such as medical offices or clinics.

Titus said...

Dwell magazine totally gets me horny.

Carol_Herman said...

Ampersand, at 7:01

THANKS! I bookmarked it.

They're like HIAKU

Or Dog-Ku. See them at Amazon. What a hoot.

As to those homes where you need to walk up a vertical ladder, the problem is when you come home with groceries, late at night.

Flushing the toilet is not as big a problem. The french even have a building with nothing on the outside, but pipes.

The other thing? If you need an ambulance, good luck to the guys tasked with bringing down the gurney.

Oh, and if they were built in America, the builders would be visited by the inspectors. Because there's no access for the handicapped.

deborah said...

"Contrary to popular belief, when you flush the toilet the poop doesn't just magically disappear."

Say what?

Paul Brinkley said...

Ann just likes it because it's an "alt" house.

Paul Brinkley said...

There was an old woman
who lived in a billboard...

...doesn't quite scan. :-(

murgatroyd666 said...

But in the future, we'll all have houses on pylons!

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