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Hex Houses designed to help refugees

Architects introduce a new low-cost solution to disaster relief. 

MINNEAPOLIS - It may be small in stature, but a tiny house is taking on mighty problems.

“We’re building a Hex House, which is a really innovative idea for providing humanitarian relief and really dignified housing for people that are displaced by disaster or other things like the hurricanes that had just been experienced down south for folks who are in refugee situations or refugee camps," says Joseph Underhill, the Program Director for the Nobel Peace Prize Forum.

Clocking in at 510 square feet and costing just $35,000, the Hex House is on display during the Nobel Peace Prize Forum at Augsburg University.

A new program called Peace by Design is being featured as part of the forum, bringing together artists, architects and engineers to find creative solutions to today's problems.

Amro Sallam, the architect behind the build and the executive director of Architects for Society, originally saw the need for the shelter while studying refugee camps.

“The quality of the homes or the pseudo homes they lived in, whether it was a tent or a FEMA trailer solution, they’re utilitarian in a way but essentially you're living in a very small box," Sallam said. "People need to have a semblance of home."

The pint-sized pad is sent in an IKEA-like kit of parts that the end users assemble themselves.

Construction takes about five days. Once it’s done there are two bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, living space and an outdoor porch. Plus, the home is insulated and weather sealed.

The Hex House is the first of its kind and the welcome mat will be rolled out for visitors at the Augsburg University Nobel Peace Prize Forum Friday and Saturday.

The public has the opportunity to check out the Hex House on Sunday, Sept. 17, as part of the 10th annual AIA Minnesota’s Home By Architects Tour. Tours will be available from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

For information and advance tickets, visit www.HomesByArchitects.org. Tickets will also be available at the door.

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