CASA 802 is a 324-square-foot micro home developed by Norwich University faculty and students to provide sustainable, beautiful housing for people from all income levels.
CASA’s immediate and long-term objective was to develop a regionally derived, solar-powered, affordable housing model that offers an alternative to the mobile home. Inspired by Vermont’s vernacular architecture, CASA 802 aims to fit into its surroundings with its gabled form and material palette, while simultaneously introducing a new way of living through modern detailing and a reduced footprint. Containing all of the essentials for daily life, CASA 802 consists of a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and loft area that can be used for storage or additional sleeping. Custom built-in birch plywood furniture provides carefully planned storage, seating and work space. Standing seam metal wraps the roof and long exterior walls; the gable end walls are charred local white cedar. The white pine interior walls extend out to the porch, creating a seamless transition between inside and outside. Two walls in the bathroom are finished in aluminum for a durable waterproof finish, making for easy cleanup while echoing the exterior. Canvas softens the bedroom space. Plentiful natural light enters through windows, doors and a skylight to create a bright, welcoming space. CASA 802 is equipped with solar panels along the south roof face, making it both sustainable and energy efficient. It is Net Zero-Ready, able to offset all or most of its annual energy consumption with the addition of a second module.
All images © CASA 802
In the Creating Affordable Sustainable Architecture (CASA) initiative, the Norwich University team led by Professor Tolya Stonorov seek to demonstrate how housing could be constructed in stages from micro-houses; create a modern photo-voltaic-based house that has the ability to disarm sceptics about the complexity, cost, and reliability of solar power; explore non-conventional structural framing for the micro-houses; spotlight how energy independence raises the psychological, spiritual, and financial value of a home. However beyond providing a similar price-point, sustainable and beautiful alternative to the trailer, CASA 802 was developed to encourage experiential learning supporting the idea that building, making and designing are intrinsic to each other: knowledge of one strengthens and informs the expression of the other. Hands on learning through the act of building what you design, translates theories and ideas into real world experience. Design-build grounds us in the physicality of the world we live in. Students in the CASA 802 studio gained unique experience through the design and construction of this home.
CASA 802 was selected by voters as their favourite of 51 project entries and won the People’s Choice Award at the 2016 AIAVT Excellence in Architecture Design Awards.