Through the months of March, April and May, Geoffrey Warner and the folks at Alchemy Architects, 856 Raymond Ave., St. Anthony Park, burrowed into a warehouse at the University of Minnesota’s Reuse Center to build a one-room roving hotel that they had hoped to rent out at festivals in the Twin Cities this summer.
The “for rent” part of the project has been put on hold, but you can see Alchemy’s lightHouse at the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis during the dawn-to-dusk arts festival, Northern Spark, in June. Northern Spark is a free event that features temporary installations and performances by local and national artists set up in various parts of Minneapolis—all between the hours of 9 p.m. Saturday, June 11, and 5:26 a.m., Saturday, June 12.
The lightHouse fits right into the festival’s 2016 theme, Climate Chaos, Climate Rising. Alchemy, along with architecture students from the U’s College of Design, built the dwelling out of an 8-by-20-foot shipping container and included sustainable amenities such as a composting toilet, solar panels and a porch at the entrance with a sitting area that will be surrounded by water-filtering plants.
It was built for Minnesota’s climate and has triple-glazed windows and doors and hydronic in-floor heat. The water system is self-contained, with a 250-gallon water tank, an on-demand water heater and a bio-filter for greywater (wastewater that can be reused). It’s “a postcard for sustainability in the Twin Cities,” Warner said.
The self-contained water system and the mobility of the lightHouse bumped up against city permitting regulations. Both St. Paul and Minneapolis require that any place you sleep in has to have a foundation and connect to city sewer and water.
The project may open discussions on changing urban needs, so stay tuned, Warner said. For now, you can get a look at the lightHouse at the all-night festival in June.
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