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Minimalistic House: Diogene

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A strife towards minimalism haunts the mind of almost any architect. As this world is evolving but not expanding people need more space, yet the tendency towards minimalism prevails. Italian architect Renzo Piano has nurtured the idea of creating a perfect minimalistic house since his student years and only now his ideas are starting to be realized with help of his students, friends and sponsors. Although still in a phase of development, Piano has designed an eco-friendly house concept that he has entitled ‘Diogene’.

Diogene Minimalistic Dwelling


Minimalistic Diogene Via Vitra

Although Diogene might appear as a garden shed or a shelter, it is actually as stated by Piano – ‘a voluntary place of retreat’. The Diogene is very mobile, being only about 2.5 meters in measurements it weighs about 1.2 tons so it can be transported by a large truck. The Diogene is completely autonomous: although it has a wooden structure, it also has aluminum paneling with installed solar cells and a rainwater tank for water provision – so it can supply its own electricity and water; there are also biological toilet and natural ventilation. The living space is very limited, only 2×2 meters, however, it has a living area, a kitchen and a bathroom with shower.

Renzo Piano has started the project about ten years ago out of his own free will, along with his students and allies. Later on, however, he has realized that he needed some financial resources to continue his work. The Project was suspended, however, in 2010 he decided to revive it after meeting with his friend, Rolf Fehlbaum. Currently the Diogene project is being realized with a help of a Swiss Furniture maker, Vitra and at present time it is being displayed publicly for more social support.

The concept is not unique, the implementation of the project is rather curious. Diogene offers everything needed for a contemporary dwelling: it is sustainable, light, self-efficient, small and mobile. Although it can’t be called a luxurious residence, this project is heading for the future, where the land resource would be so scarce that we would be fighting for any housing. Do you like the idea?

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