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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Archipod Comes To America. But Will It Catch On?

Lloyd Alter
Green Architecture

archipod/Promo image
I have had an ongoing debate with Alex Johnson of Shedworking, a british website devoted to the subject of working from garden sheds, about whether shedworking would actually catch on in North America. Our own Sami Grover does it in North Carolina, but he is a British expat so probably doesn't count; I thought that it wouldn't fly in North America. My reasons, stated in an earlier post:

  • The climate is more extreme in much of America;
  • People have greater expectations of the temperature and humidity of their workplace being stable and within a couple of degrees of ideal;
  • People have bigger houses, often with basements, so that they can find space within the home to have an office;
  • People are more security conscious and would not leave expensive hardware in a backyard shed;
  • People are obsessed with the price per square foot of everything and find them too expensive.
  • Where's the fridge?

archipod/Promo image
Now we are about to find out if it will work in North America, as the Archipod lands on these shores. (Bonnie saw it in London here) This one is more of a land yacht than a shed, made from curved plywood, mineral fiber and foil insulation, and western red cedar shingles. It has air conditioning and heating and is not meant to be the cheapest shed on the block:
Our 'Pod' has been specifically designed to meet a high standard rather than a low budget. This includes it's unusual and contemporary look, its ergonomic interior placing the user at the centre of the curved desk, and the quality of the fixtures and fittings. There are cheaper garden offices on the market, but our intention is to provide a more interesting and better quality alternative.
And indeed they are not cheap; Hammacher Schlemmer sells the larger 12' diameter unit for $ 40,000. That is $ 666 per square foot.
According to the Business Desk, managing director Darren Buttle says
It’s going extremely well in New York. It’s such an important city for us when you consider the size and scale of the business community... Orders are already coming through, and we’re confident we can build on our success to date in the US and continue our upwards trajectory.

archipod/Promo image
The Archipod addresses quite a few of my concerns about sheds in America; it is well insulated and secure. It will be interesting to see if it catches on. Check it out at Archipod.