Diogene Micro-Home
Renzo Piano 
Diogene Micro-Home

Diogene Micro-Home

Renzo Piano 


Shelter is one of the great themes of modernity, from the hypotheses of Laugier up to the cells of metabolist clusters, passing through the spaces of the Existenzminimum, and it is in this genealogy that we must situate Diogene, a minimal and self-sufficient dwelling whose name was inspired by the barrel of the celebrated cynic philosopher, Diogenes, but also by the existential cabin in the woods where the writer Henry David Thoreau spent his fruitful season of reflection.

With its 2.5 x 3 meters on plan and its little over 3 meters in height, weighing a ton, Diogene is a place one can withdraw to that is equipped with everything truly necessary for living. It is built with a wooden structure clad in aluminum and can be easily transported by truck to any place desired. Its apparent simplicity – that of a basic hut with a pitched roof – is deceiving; the skin and innards of this built organism incorporate an intricate mesh of technical systems, from photovoltaic cells and thermosolar panels to triple-glass insulation, not to mention a water well, networks of natural ventilation and even an ecological toilet. The interior of the module addresses a minimal program: a living room that can be converted into a bedroom towards the front, and a utilities core complete with a kitchen and bath at the rear.