Architects turn to crowd for FOUNDhouse micro-house funding


June 25, 2013

FOUNDhouse will provide shelter for Patrick Beseda and Lacy Graham while they help build a home for a Navaho Native American family

FOUNDhouse will provide shelter for Patrick Beseda and Lacy Graham while they help build a home for a Navaho Native American family

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Architecture students Patrick Beseda and Lacy Graham have launched the FOUNDhouse project, which aims to raise funds, via Kickstarter, to build a micro-house. FOUNDhouse bucks the trend of big-money crowd-funding schemes, and instead aims to generate a relatively low US$1,100 for the project to go ahead.

FOUNDhouse will provide shelter for Beseda and Graham while they help build a home for a Navajo Native American family on tribal land in Utah, as part of the Design Build Bluff non-profit organization. The miniature dwelling draws on the existing WikiHouse framework, but adds a few home comforts in a bid to make life in the house a little more appealing.

These additions include insulation, sheathing, a composting toilet, and solar panels. The entire house measures just 150 sq ft (14 sq m), and has enough room for a bed, kitchen area, bathroom and shower, some storage, and a living area for the two architecture students. FOUNDhouse can operate either on or off-grid, and in this case will be far away from any electrical outlet or plumbing.

FOUNDhouse is to be fabricated from CNC-machined plywood, and will snap together like a 3D puzzle, requiring no bolts. Construction should take two people about a day. Though it's promoted as portable, there are no wheels, but the design allows easy disassembly should the occupants wish to move location.

The total build budget of FOUNDhouse is a modest $5,000, but the Kickstarter campaign only calls for the relatively low sum of $1,100 to be raised by July 5. Pledges start at a dollar, and $5 allows backers access to the plans needed to create a model of their own micro-house, measuring 4 x 8 x 3 inches (10 x 20 x 7 cm).

Beseda and Graham intend to live in FOUNDhouse from August 19 to December 12, while they work on the Navaho tribal land. Once their time in Utah comes to an end, the pair will make any required adjustments to the design, before giving backers their rewards.

The full-size FOUNDhouse plans, CNC files, and all additional information will also eventually be released, to allow others to create similar dwellings.

The pitch video below sheds some more light on the project.

Sources: FOUNDhouse and Kickstarter via Archinect

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

Interesting way to make a portable home, but what are the advantages of this over a travel trailer? All of the appliances have to be moved with the home and, with this design, everything has to be rebuilt and reinstalled every time.


I agree, all these 'tiny' homes seem to be reinventing the wheel. Countless small caravans or travel trailers have been refined - over many years in many countries and environments - to be comfortable living quarters and to be easily transportable. What do they do with this one? Dismantle it ... load it onto a half-dozen pack animals ... reassemble it ... and then spent more time making sure there are no plumbing leaks or wiring faults each time? Using a friend's backyard to save on rent is possible for a while, but then ditto for a small caravan. Total waste of money.

The Skud

The previous comments comparing this tiny home to a travel trailer are what went through my head as well. One of the advantages I can think of may be price. What does a new trailer cost? Another advantage would be the ability to palatize these in less space for shipping to places like Haiti.

Barry Miller
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