1) THE SERVICE GALLEY:
The fundamental economy of the 5x5 house is based on two principles. The first is the "service galley," which is fancy term for a functional hallway. Originally found on ships, where space is of an absolute premium, it allows the circulation corridor to also serve as the work space. In order to access a shelf, for instance, or use a counter, you need space to stand in front of it. This "space-to-access-the-shelf" is then adjoined with the adjacent "space-to-access-the-shelf" to form a corridor. As a result, less than 40 sf of the house are "wasted" as pure circulation.
By developing the 5x5 House around this core idea of a service galley that runs along the entire length, a relationship is established between "service" and "served" space which directly acknowledges the fact we live in a materialistic society. It is an honest admission that a house is a place for things, as much as it is for people, and we tend to have a lot of stuff! The service galley provides a home for your things so they are both quick at hand, and also out of sight. Every primary room benefits from this relationship: just as a living room needs an entry, so too a kitchen needs a pantry, and bedrooms need bathrooms and closets. The service galley accommodates these functions, while helping you keep your main living areas less cluttered.
2) FIVE FOOT BAYS:
The service galley is then divided into a series of bays that are spaced every five feet. This is the second principle, and the one from which the 5x5 house derives its name. As it turns out, five feet is a good dimension for a human being, roughly the limits of our personal space. Accordingly, a number of different "programs" can be plugged into these bays, from showers to closets. 5' x 5' is also a standard (albeit less common) size of plywood, and since these bays will primarily be occupied by shelves and cabinets, this makes for an efficient use of material and reduction of workload by utilizing pre-cut dimensions from the factory.