MINIMOD – A Prefab Off-Grid House by MAPA Architects

This tiny house, called the MINIPOD has been designed by MAPA Architects. The MINIPOD is a self-sufficient, off-grid dwelling that consists of four modules; a bedroom, bathroom, living room and dining room (which also contains the kitchen).


MINIMOD Prefab Off-Grid House by Mapa Architects - Humble Homes

Each house is fabricated in a factory. Once the assembly of the house is completed, the MINIMOD is transported to the owner’s site, where it arrives as a “ready-to-go” living unit. Due to the prefabrication process, the houses are fully customizable and – due to their modular design – expandable to your needs.


MINIMOD Prefab Off-Grid House by Mapa Architects - Humble Homes

The large openings on the three sides of the basic model provide a connection with the exterior environment, while also ensuring ample interior natural lighting and ventilation. The exterior of the unit is clad with recycled wood, whereas the interior is clad entirely in pine plywood.


MINIMOD Prefab Off-Grid House by Mapa Architects - Humble Homes

The MINIMOD that’s shown in the pictures comes with its own rainwater harvester that’s been incorporated into its green roof. Rainwater from the roof can be filtered and recycled for use as grey water in the home. While it’s said to be an off-grid home, there’s no mention of solar panels being used to provide for the MINIMOD’s electrical needs, although it wouldn’t be much of a challenge to introduce the system.

MINIMOD Prefab Off-Grid House by Mapa Architects - Humble Homes

The unit is just 280 square feet in size (26 square meters). The entire structure is raised off of the ground, preventing issues related to moisture ingress, and at night the interior is lit by efficient LED lighting.

MINIMOD Prefab Off-Grid House by Mapa Architects - Humble Homes

The MINIMOD is an innovative modular dwelling that provides people with the option to live in a green space that can be tailored to their own specific needs.

UPDATE: After contacting MINIMOD about their tiny house they provided me with the following info regarding costs:

“The MINIMOD presented is a prototype of a minimum modular retreat. Its all built in lightweight steel frame and enclosed by plywood panelling and glass. It has 2.4×9.6m intern, whitch means 4 modules of 2.4×2.4m.

You will be able to choose any size from 3 modules or more. We are evolving to improve this product, regarding it’s functionality, materiality, costs and production times. Although there is no production yet, our forecast is for the first quarter of this year (2014).

In any case, the price may vary according to the client’s needs – module sizes, selected materials and etc. Today, as per the showed model, we reference the cost of R$ 2,500.00 per square meter (about U$ 1,000) and production time is up to 45 days.

All shipping costs are apart. Please be aware that all site works (land fills or land removal, water and electricity supplies, foundations are not included on prices above) – all the infrastructure is apart -We will deliver all the projects and specifications – but clients will have to hire those services locally.

Basic furniture like the kitchen, toiletry and wardrobe joinery are included. You will also be able to customize the façade – options will be available very soon in MINIMOD’s webstore.”

For more prefab and off-grid homes check out House Arc by Bellomo Architects – a modern micro-home designed for a variety of situations, including disaster relief. Or this modern 290 square foot house by ÁBATON that can be delivered to your chosen location as a ready-to-go home. See all off-grid.

Via Inhabitat
Photos: Leonardo Finotti

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

  1. It’s nice and “sterile”….why not just build a “tiny house” on a trailer,…smaller, easier to move about, much cheaper and not so “European sterile” looking and feeling. No offense.

  2. Its sterile because its to show off the house,not the decorations.Those are personal.

  3. Niall I am researching small modular homes for a small piece of land up in Inishowen Co.Donegal. It needs to handle the rain and the wind. I wonder how do you think MAPA’S minimum would fair or do you have other ideas?

    1. Hi Emma, I suppose two things come to mind immediately. The wind in Donegal (as you probably know) is pretty strong, particularly along the coast. So it would need to be able to withstand those strong gales. The second is the flat roof, which are more susceptible ponding, and leakage. I’ve not seen the actual plans/details of how the MiniMod is constructed, so I don’t know how it’d fair in those conditions. However, when I last checked, MAPA was selling them throughout Europe and beyond, which would make you think they have to be suitable for a variety of regions. There are a number of alternatives like the APH80 (see it here).

  4. Hi Niall and Emma,

    I actually work on MAPA Architects and can help you with any doubts that you may have in relation to MINIMOD.
    MINIMOD was planned to all kinds of weather and climate conditions and, the most important, it’s adaptable to different cases or sites.
    If you want to, you can send me an e-mail with all your questions and we will be very pleased to help you with answers.

    Best regards,

    Mauricio Müller
    MAPA Architects BR

  5. Hi Mauricio,

    I would be grateful for any details you can supply on the MINIMOD – I am interested in thermal characteristics and fire rating details e.g. 1 hour protection or equivalent.

    I will send a separate e-mail to your details above.


  6. I’m curious to understand how the exterior is insulated. Is the black cladding a rain screen or an integrated refrigerator panel?

    Thank you!