The Porter Cottage is the picture of environmental sustainability. From the composting toilet to the solar panels that allows the tiny cabin to have modern furnishings without being on the power grid, this comfortable abode measures only 550 square feet.
The designer of this tiny house is Alex Scott Porter who built the place for her father, Bruce Porter. The family is no stranger to academia. Bruce, now retired, used to teach at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Alex has a Masters of Architecture from Columbia but also attended Yale’s School of Architecture and earned a BA cum laude from Penn State. Following in her father’s footsteps, Alex has also taught at Columbia, Barnard and the Pratt Institute.
The cozy home Alex built for Bruce’s retirement is situated twenty miles off of the coast of Maine on Ragged Island. The power grid mainlanders take for granted is not available on this remote island so keeping the house self sustaining was priority. In fact, this island is the outermost inhabited island in the state of Maine and has no roads, stores, ferry service or year round inhabitants.
A well designed rainwater catchment system provides clean, drinkable water without a well. During the frequent downpours, the first five gallons of rainwater collected are immediately discarded as a way to clean off the roof. The rest of the water caught goes into a storage tank that feeds from the top so sediment has a chance to settle before consumption.
Other aspects of the unique location also added difficulty and creativity to the design and building process. The house is only livable in the spring, summer and fall because the winters are too harsh in the area. The design features a corrugated steel exterior with durable rolling storm shutters to protect inhabitants from ocean gales that are commonplace when you’re perched on the Atlantic coast.
Even more photos are available at the architect’s website: http://mini.alexporterdesign.com/alex_porter_new/index.php?/project/main-island-house/
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