The Mighty House was designed for use as temporary shelter for individuals and families transitioning out of homelessness and into more stable housing. With an 8x12 footprint totalling only 96 square feet, the structure is modest in size but is far more durable, safe, and dignified than a camping tent.
The Mighty House was designed in Seattle, Washington where homelessness service providers have had success using tiny houses due to their low cost, quick construction and transportability. The tiny houses are typically used as sleeping units while facilities for hygiene, cooking and gathering are located elsewhere on site.
The design of the Mighty House is open source, meaning the documentation needed to build one is made freely available online for everyone to download, use and modify. The documentation package includes everything you'll need to start planning your own build: a construction manual with detailed instructions, a materials list with quantities and prices, and a three-dimensional digital model.
The Mighty House is intended to be built both for community and by community. The construction manual includes step-by-step instructions that have been carefully written to promote safety and simplify fabrication, giving individuals and groups that may not have prior carpentry experience (volunteers, students, etc) the ability to construct a high quality dwelling.
Where possible, methods have been used that increase builder safety and reduce the use of potentially dangerous power tools. However, some power tools will still be needed to complete construction, and any users of such tools should take appropriate safety precautions.
To simplify construction, the process has been broken down into three separate phases.
This is where the majority of construction happens. Each of the Mighty House’s six panels are framed, insulated, sheathed, and waterproofed. All of the panels must be built exactly to specification so that the assembly process goes smoothly. This process can happen on-site or remotely.
Here the prefabricated panels are brought together, connected with structural clips, and the joints between the panels are weatherproofed. Given the weight of the panels and the need to stabilize them during assembly, it is recommended that a sizable team be present for this phase. With a little bit of planning, you should be able to complete assembly of the Mighty House in a day. After this phase, the house will be “dried in” (ie, mostly waterproof and ready for finishes).
The finishing touches are finally applied to the Mighty House. Construction joints between windows, doors and panels are trimmed out, the walls are painted, and both roofing and flooring are installed. The construction manual divides the finishes phase into two chapters, interior and exterior, which can be completed one after the other or simultaneously.
This construction manual provides detailed, step-by-step instructions for prefabricating, assembling, and finishing a single Mighty House unit. The document also contains fabrication drawings for each construction task, as well as material quantities and suggested tools to be used.Download
Currently only 48 materials are required to build a Mighty House, and the total cost of construction is estimated to be about $3500. All construction materials are commonly available and should be easy to find at the local hardware store. The materials list spreadsheet contains quantities, pricing and web links for every component required to build the Mighty House.Download
The Mighty House has been modeled in great detail using Trimble SketchUp, a 3d modelling program that can be downloaded online for free. The model of the Mighty House has been made available as a resource to aid in the construction process.Download
The Miller Hull Partnership began design on the Mighty House in 2017 and the first publicly-available version was released in May of 2018. A beta version prototype was built in Seattle by a local non-profit organization, 118 Designs, and was exhibited at the 2017 Seattle Design Festival. After the festival the house was donated to the Low Income Housing Institute for use as a transitional shelter for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
The designers of the Mighty House acknowledge that tiny houses are not the one and only solution to the issue of homelessness, but believe that they can nevertheless be a valuable component of a multi-pronged effort to transition unsheltered communities into more stable housing.
Planning on building a Mighty House? Let us know. While we can’t consult on or offer support to every Mighty House project that is being built, we would love to hear more on the who, the where and the why of your particular project.
We also greatly appreciate feedback on the design, as we are continually working to improve it. If you have design recommendations, or if particular instructions are difficult to understand, please let us know!
The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP
71 Columbia St, Sixth Floor
Seattle, WA 98104