An Adult Cross-Cultural Kid Creates “Home” in the “World’s Smallest House,” and You Can Too

When he was a child, Van Bo Le-Mentzel’s family relocated as refugees from Laos to Germany. Now an architect, he is redefining home.

“All my life,” Le-Mentzel tells CNN, “I was confronted with the question, What is home? Where do I belong to? Where is my home base? And where do I want to settle?”

One of his answers is his creation, the “one square meter house.” With it, he says, “I can settle wherever I want, because this is the one square meter that nobody is allowed to touch. It’s mine.”

Not only does he want do-it-yourselfers to build their own One SQM Houses, he also envisions them placed in public places in urban areas, each available as “one square meter of freedom,” a place to calm down, concentrate, pray, cry, or “whatever.”

Le-Mentzel is giving away plans for constructing his “world’s smallest house” (which, when completed costs about $300) at Hartz IV Möbel. The site also offers instructions on several other DIY projects, including the Berliner Hocker (Berlin Stool), shown in the video below. It’s a stackable modular bookshelf (a frugal man’s BrickBox?) that, with it’s asymmetrical design, can also serve as a desk, end table, and chair—I think he’s sitting on one inside his house in the video above.

Here’s to creativity spurred on by a cross-cultural life.

(Doug Gross, “Architect Designs ‘World’s Smallest House,'” CNN, July 25)


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