Over the past three years, New York City artist/architect “XAM” has designed, built and installed extraordinary birdhouses for urban avian residents.
Here’s a sweet home on a sign. The insulated roof features succulent green plantings. Notice its little DISH which provides TV service for lucky nesting viewers. (Huffington Post)
Tiny houses and their features
XAM says “my dwelling units incorporate passive ventilation, solar panels, LED porch lights (to attract insects), green roofs (for insulation), a food storage area that I fill before hanging and a dwelling space. My feeding units are gravity fed and the feeding trough is refilled from a large food storage cavity.”
Similarly, tiny houses for people focus on insulation, ventilation, humidity control and waterproofing. Tinies naturally conserve energy, and often sport LED lights. Many off-grid homes also generate power through solar panels. And you will find dwelling space with a kitchen, rather than feeding trough.
Living well and in peace
It’s about the neighbors! During 2011, XAM began hanging birdhouses on Brooklyn street signs and they were quickly removed by humans. The houses last far longer when hung in different places, such as industrial sections of Los Angeles.
“I like the community to decide the longevity of my work. I guess I like playing with ‘grey areas’. Are we supposed to accept and/or appreciate the units because they are in a way trying to reverse our destructive effects on nature?,” asks XAM. “Or should we remove them because they are illegally placed? I like to provoke thought and challenge our belief system as well as expand definitions.”
When neighbors see tiny homes for people, they tend to appreciate them. Houses on wheels are technically RVs, which legally prevents full-time living. However, some cities allow caretakers to live in them. For permanent tiny houses, on foundations, other cities like Portland (OR) and Austin (TX) are adjusting secondary dwelling unit codes.
Perhaps we are like the birds, sharing their need for reliable tiny spaces. Birds are used to relocating seasonally and building nests. Yet it’s nice to have ready-made city houses they can simply decorate and use.