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Minimod small home designed with flexibility in mind


January 27, 2014

Minimod, by MAPA Architects (Photo: Leonardo Finotti)

Minimod, by MAPA Architects (Photo: Leonardo Finotti)

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Though embracing small footprint living doesn't always require one deal with a challenging interior layout, a compact home that's designed to be flexible certainly bodes well for a harmonious lifestyle. It would appear that MAPA Architects had this in mind with its Minimod (or Minimal Modular) prototype home, which sports an adaptable interior layout comprising four living spaces.

Minimod measures 27 sq m (290 sq ft), and comprises a lightweight steel frame enclosed by plywood and glass. Its simple rectangular box-like appearance doesn't really break the mold, but is easy enough on the eyes. Unlike the similar Passion House M1, Minimod doesn't look suited to handle challenging climes, but those large glass windows and a partly-ventilated facade should be just fine for life in warmer areas. It's also raised on stilts to avoid ground moisture.

Though still in the development stage and so subject to potential change, Brazil and Uruguay-based MAPA Architects told Gizmag that it plans to make the homes available for purchase in the next few months at a price of roughly US$1,000 per sq m (or $27,000 for the model shown), not including foundations, land-removal costs, or plumbing and power facilities.

Each unit will be prefabricated in a factory with a build time of around 45 days, before being transported via truck and placed into position by crane.

Customers will have the choice of sticking with the layout featured here, which has a bedroom, living room, kitchen dining room, and a bathroom – or if preferred, they can tailor the home to suit their own needs. Some furniture is included as standard, such as air-conditioning, wardrobe mini fridge, and mini-oven. Lighting is provided by efficient LED bulbs.

Minimod isn't designed to operate off-the-grid as standard, though could be fitted with solar panels and a composting toilet. It does, however, sport a green roof and rainwater tank which combine to filter and reuse rainwater.

Source: MAPA Architects

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

Love this idea. It's nice as well that the customer can change and modify their own little pod to suit them.

Thomas H Wood

I like the idea that is customizable to fit ones needs. With cost of living going up, this could well be the way to save money. I like the simplicity of the design.


This looks like a coffin. When you die, they just shovel dirt over the top.


I love the concept, but think that the insulation should be improved, even air-conditioning would be more efficient with good insulation, and of course cheaper to run. The idea is very versatile and could be developed on so that it could be used all over the world, I think that this is the way of the future. Off the grid it good but not necessary in the world yet


$27,000 for a modified container box seems rather pricey. Sod on the roof doesn't look like a good idea either. It also doesn't appear to have much insulation. Almost no cabinets or storage would also be a problem. Why doesn't someone just modify a container box with a heavy duty awning and floor plan it like a modern travel trailer??? That would beat almost of the tiny house designs that I have seen so far. For short term, I'd rather just live in the travel trailer and go south in the winter.

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