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Best of 2010: Not in my backyard…wait a minute, that’s actually pretty cool.

December 29, 2010

This final week of the year we at What the Ted? will be highlighting the Best of 2010, this was originally aired September 1.

Not in My Backyard…Wait a Minute, That’s Actually Pretty Cool.

We went camping a couple of times this summer and both times we ran into some pretty cool, portable architecture.  Not mobile homes in the traditional tin-can kind of way but mobile none-the-less.

The first place we ran into was up in Methow Valley just outside the western-themed town of Winthrop.  There you will find a small resort called the Rolling Huts.  These modern huts sit up on their strangely wheeled legs looking a little like giant roller skates. 

They are very sleek, very European, very cool.  

The Methow Valley is more of an Alpine-like area and attracts cross-country skiers in the winter and mountain bikers/hikers in the spring and summer months. The huts are built with this environment and use in mind.  The wheels are a bit peculiar but as I understand it, mobility is a zoning requirement of the local municipality.  So kudos to the architects for taking an unconventional approach on a local convention and sticking it to the man!

Though these units are part of resort they made me think about how cool it would be to build something like this in my backyard.  After all, Seattle has allowed for ADU’s (additional dwelling unit) to be created in south east Seattle for the last couple of years.  And as of December 09′ you can now have a legal ADU anywhere in the city (provided you meet the criteria listed here).

The problem is that this resort was created by some very creative (and very expensive no doubt) architects (check out Olson Kundig Architects to see some of their other fantastic projects).  How can the average homeowner have an ADU this cool yet functional in their own back yard?

That leads us to our second camping trip to Orcas Island.  We love Orcas Island and now we love it even more for introducing us to Stem Creative Space and its owner architect Matthew Maher.  When the building started slowing down on the island Maher decided to add another leg to his business by designing portable buildings that can be used as ADU’s, Studios, and a variety of other purposes. 

One of the units I saw at his shop would cost $12,000 to $15,000 (that doesn’t include delivery and haul away of your old sheet metal shed ( ; ).

If you’re more of a do it yourselfer Yard Pods will ship you the materials and you can either build the whole thing yourself or do the finishing work starting at $2,100 for basic materials.  Also check out Modern Cabana.  Both of these Bay area companies have great designs and reasonable prices.  Below is an example of a Yard Pods unit. 

Yard Pods

These are just a few of the options for creating a nifty backyard building. I’d love to see what other people out there have come across. If you’ve got something to share send it along.

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