Marie Antoinette's boudoir at her Hameau de la Reine retreat 

In 1854, Henry David Thoreau moved into a 150-square-foot home and chronicled that experience in his famous novel, Walden. And even Marie Antoinette had a tiny house: her boudoir at her Hameau de la Reine retreat was a modest 255-square-foot building nicknamed "the little house of the Queen.”

Although tiny houses are not new, their popularity is relatively recent. In 1978, the average family home size was 1,780 square feet, but by 2007 the average size had increased to 2,662 square feet! While the size of homes was increasing, the size of families was decreasing. People began to realize that having all of this extra space wasn’t always a good thing.

Here are five reasons that people have embraced the tiny house movement (it could have been 10 reasons, but less is more):

  • Tiny houses cost less to purchase and less to maintain.
  • Tiny houses are eco-friendly; they are easily made from recycled materials and use fewer resources.
  • Tiny houses allow you to live in unique places; plus, many are mobile and allow for easy moving.
  • Tiny houses reconnect you with nature by both eliminating material items and utilizing outdoor living spaces.
  • Tiny houses foster community. In addition to promoting being out of the house, many people choose to live in tiny house communities.

The Center for Architecture Sarasota recently hosted the less is more – Tiny House Competition. This competition was designed to challenge and seek creativity with ideas and concepts for tiny houses. The aim of the competition was to promote small, flexible, affordable, and sustainable alternatives to traditional housing, while simultaneously raising awareness for nontraditional housing needs.

Impressive designs were submitted by both professional architects and students from throughout the state. Three winners and two honorable mentions were selected in both the professional and student categories. These designs will be on exhibit at the Center for Architecture Sarasota’s gallery from April 29–June 12, 2021.

During the Tiny House Exhibition, the Center for Architecture Sarasota will be open Thursday and Friday from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is a free exhibit, but due to limited capacity, guests should reserve their gallery time at cfasrq.org.

The less is more – Tiny House Competition and exhibition are sponsored by The Gardener Foundation.

After a summer hiatus, Architecture Sarasota, a new organization formed by the unification of Center for Architecture Sarasota and Sarasota Architectural Foundation, will launch a new season of exciting exhibits and events with Anne-Marie Russell as Executive Director.

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