In 2018, Interface Studio Architects has been completed a residential project in Philadelphia, the U.S called Tiny Tower. With 1250 ft² in size, this tower-like house sits on a 12’ by 29’ lot whose similarly scaled neighbors are currently used as rear yards and single-car parking for the adjacent houses. The building offers six levels of usable space and a folded plate metal stair with winder treads.
The height under the zoning code is maximized by the expanded section while the depth of the foundation can create six levels of usable space. The design for this project provides a vertical living for both outdoor and indoor space that occupies the site footprint in the required setbacks with a roof deck, a second level walkout, and a lower level window garden.
This house measures only 38’ in height but it is designed and organized like a full-scale skyscraper. Each level of the house is linked by a strong core of vertical circulation, allowing for flexible programming. With the tucked away bathrooms on upper ones and a kitchen at the lower level, each floor of the house is free to define play, work, and live in multiple configurations.
The stair configuration is the biggest challenge in a vertical house with its tiny footprint. The folded plate metal stair with winder treads pushes up against the building front facade to create a dramatic, light-filled circulation stack. This stack can afford a sense of adventure for the occupants and surprising views inside and out. The experience of going up and down the stair becomes an integral part of the building daily life.
The dwellers in an urban area are willing to trade the space quantity for quality increasingly. Instead of living in a larger home in a far-flung location, now people are more desirable to live in a small unit in a vibrant, walkable neighborhood. This house shows how small in the scale of a living place can feel large in experience and amenity.
Tiny Tower Gallery
Photographer: Sam Oberter Photography