As cabin kits and prefab architecture continue to skyrocket in popularity around the world, few global regions seem to add as many unique takes on prefabricated housing as Central Europe and the Baltics. From Hungary and Slovenia to Estonia and Latvia the prefab concepts keep on coming.
Certainly the most unique design we've seen to date is the new folding cabin concept by Latvian housing start-up Brette Haus, which recently released three types of foldable prefab structures— the "Rustic" micro cabin, "Urban" shipping container-style structure, and " Compact" tiny house models.
Perhaps due to its bright color and charming appearance, the cabin model has drawn the most buzz, but all three of the sustainable cross-laminated timber structures operate on a patented hinge system and come outfitted with electrical and plumbing wiring already installed. Best of all, they require minimal site prep and no permanent foundation, as they are designed to be relocated and non-permanent in nature.
"In as little as three hours a cabin can be fully assembled, hooked to local utilities, and in living order."
The unique folding design allows the cabin to be fully built off-site by skilled builders, then neatly packed into itself for transport by flatbed truck (up to four folded units can fit on a single trailer bed). Once on location, the cabin cube is placed on temporary footing and unfolded. In as little as three hours a cabin can be fully assembled, hooked to local utilities, and in living order.
Each Brette Haus model comes with a fully equipped bathroom and working kitchen (premium options offer the ability to add appliances) with a main level living space and modest, elevated loft sleeping area. Premium options also include off-grid packages for remote living, allowing the user to tap into solar and potentially capture rain water.
The mobility of Brette Haus designs make them great contenders for a variety of situations, like pop-up shops, festival accommodation, home offices, and event space. Models like the folding cabin may also provide a viable solution to disaster-relief housing, as well as sheltering the growing global houseless population.
The three models vary in square footage, with the Compact 20 coming in at 193 sq ft and the Rustic 30 with 506 sq ft. Prices start at ~$23,000 USD for the Rustic 15. At ~$61,000, the Urban 30 is the most expensive model. Prices do not include taxes and transportation costs—worldwide shipping is available.
While foldable-architecture provides a healthy (and enjoyable) dose of sheer showmanship, like prefab, it’s sustainable by nature, cutting down on overall costs, material, time, and waste when compared to traditional buildings. These factors alone bring us closer towards housing that’s more affordable and more accessible for everyone.
Plus, there’s infinite ways to fold a house, so possibilities abound.