Dreaming of owning a cabin one day? The internet is making purchasing plans, cabin kits, and even whole prefab cabins delivered to your door (err, plot of land) easier than ever. Similar to the impact of Manta North's innovative online cabin design tool for customizing prefab cabins, Australian start-up Architopia also aims to make buying a house off the internet more approachable. Launched in 2020, the sleek digital platform sells architect-designed house plans at an affordable price, so design lovers across Oz can live in style without needing to be a crypto billionare.
According to Architopia, only 5% of the 200,000 new homes built in Australia each year are architect-designed, meaning new construction is often inefficient, poorly constructed, and well, boring. And while they (and we) believe everyone should have access to great design, hiring an architect isn't in the budget for most folks. So the founders of Architopia set out to create an online house plans shop of energy-efficient, thoughtfully designed, unique home designs.
For now, the company offers four home iterations, all of which have been designed to work with a range of surrounding environments. Although some of the models work better in certain orientations and sites, all are designed to harvest their own rain water and do much of their own heating and cooling work with passive engineering.
Starting at a price of just $1,950 AUD ($1,415 USD), Architopia's design packages include dimensions, specifications, schedules, customization options, and CAD files, which can then be taken directly to a builder. Building costs for each of their four home designs land at an estimated $312,000 to $343,000 AUD (that's $222,425 to $244,525 USD).
At 1,400 sq ft, the Offset House is the company's smallest plan, although it packs an impressive three bedroom and two bath set-up. Three simple volumes link to create two separate wings for living and sleeping. Designed to adapt to a variety of sites, the living space should be oriented north, and the house will perform as designed. Inside, tall ceilings and plenty of windows let in light and heat, and natural materials make for a cozy feel.
Another of Architopia's more adaptable plans, and particularly family-friendly, at 1,750 square feet the Courtyard House is also their largest. Featuring a spacious central courtyard, the home contains three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living space, and a farmhouse kitchen. Large windows, natural materials, and an abundance of sliding glass doors are perfect for nature lovers, while a minimalist facade offers privacy.
While not your traditional cabin, Architopia's homes are designed with the environment in mind, and wood-clad exteriors and natural materials inside make these homes inviting and cozy. It would be great to see smaller floor plans come to the site, as Architopia has mentioned they plan on designing more.
And although many cabin plan offerings exist in the US, it would also be great to see a similarly well-designed online platform hit the States, as design ordinances restrict Architopia from selling internationally. After all, it's not all that odd to add an entire house to your online shopping cart these days.