2021 RDAA | Residential Special Constraints | Bento Cabin | DPZ CoDesign

The Bento Cabin addresses several pressing concerns in a compact plywood package—namely the lack of affordable housing for urban young professionals, and the uncertainties of climate change. Categorized as a tiny house in the residential building code, the 204-square-foot box, about 8 feet wide and 26 feet long, can be towed without a special license. “The ideal model was a kid working for Google who’s commuting an hour and has a room in a ranch house somewhere, and occupies a parking space,” says Andres Duany. “Why not live in the parking space?” As climate change progresses, the cabin can also be moved to safety when dangerous weather threatens, he says. 

The interior is clad in plywood so the furniture could be screwed into the walls. By designing it in section with quarter- and half-levels—”the closet over the kitchen, the bed over the bathroom”—the architects were able to fit in a full-size bath, a standup loft bedroom with a queen-size mattress, 12 feet of kitchen counter, space for five to sit comfortably for a meal, and storage, including a washer and dryer. Eleven patent-pending, movable parts helped to achieve its livability. 

“This is designed for the underutilized parking lots of the world,” says Andres. “Parking lots already have infrastructure and are usually close to where people want to be for a live-work balance.” He says that orders have already come in for the $80,000 to $100,000 tiny house, which is being reclad in corrugated metal.

Residential Special Constraints


DPZ CoDesign
Bento Cabin
Montgomery, Alabama

Project Credits

Architect: Andres Duany, DPZ CoDesign, Miami

Builder: No-Nonsense Housing Co., Miami

Project size: 204 square feet

Site size: 0.013 acre

Construction cost: $490 per square foot

Photography: Nick Drolette & Grace Photography Studio

Key Products

Cabinetry: ¾-inch Baltic birch plywood

Cladding: Royal Building Products, 6-inch aluminum

Cooktop: True Induction, 15-inch

Countertop: Athena Quartz

Dishwasher: Whirlpool

Doors: Western Window Systems

Engineered lumber: 2×2 LVL beams

Lighting: Livex

HVAC: Mitsubishi mini-split; Rheem electric water heater

Millwork/Molding/Trim: ¾-inch Baltic birch plywood

Paints/Stains/Coatings: Clear Coat Sanding Sealer

Roofing: TPO

Underlayment: ½-inch plywood

Window shading systems: GRA Supreme aluminum blinds

Windows: Western Window Systems



Plans and Drawings

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