Mobile Hotel to Debut in Minneapolis

Sketch of the Lighthouse portable hotel structure. Source: Geoffrey Warner, Alchemy Architects,
Sketch of the Lighthouse portable hotel structure. Source: Geoffrey Warner, Alchemy Architects,

Alchemy’s “LIGHTHOUSE” Premiers at the Minneapolis Institute of Art Event

Released by Geoffrey Warner,

The LIGHTHOUSE, designed by Geoffrey Warner and built with a team of University of Minnesota students and Alchemy, makes its premier at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) Third Thursday: Art of Sustainability event on Thursday, May 19, 2016.

The LIGHTHOUSE is a fully functioning one-room mobile hotel that is a beacon for urban ecotourism and a postcard for sustainability. It moves as the flow of the city requires, occupying places both celebrated and ignored, using the city as its lobby. After MIA, it will “rest up” in St. Paul’s Creative Enterprise Zone (CEZ) at the Green Line’s Raymond Avenue stop, before its next public appearance at Northern Spark, an all night Minneapolis art festival on June 11, 2016.

According to the Alchemy LIGHTHOUSE description online,

“The interior is efficient and luxe, making the most of limited space within the salvaged 8’ x 20’ shipping container. Built for the year-round Minnesota climate, it features a spray foam shell, triple-glazed windows and doors, solar powered HVAC, LED lighting and hydronic infloor heat. The water system is self-contained, with a 250-gallon water tank that supplies an on-demand water heater and bio-filter for grey water. It has a high-end shower and separate toilet to keep your body happy.

“The container is adorned with mechanical detritus and applied typographic overlays to entertain and provide functional insight. An online public digital dashboard maps water, power and waste usage, guest experiences and the lightHouse’s itinerary. The dashboard serves to enlighten and educate the temporary lightHouse “keepers” on conservation and sustainability as usage is recorded and shared via social media. Led by Alchemy and weeHouse founder Geoffrey Warner, AIA, the lightHouse is part of an ongoing effort to celebrate and create new paradigms for efficient living.”

In addition to the LIGHTHOUSE mobile hotel, Alchemy is knee-deep in a sustainable homes project in St. Paul MN.

Alchemy is part of an all-star team designing a weeHouse-small home EcoVillage in St. Paul. The team is supported by two Livable Communities grants from The Metropolitan Council and is in alignment with the City of St. Paul’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan (#SaintPaul4All). The pre-development phase will study innovative housing options and will include an analysis of the potential for progressive zoning code changes to allow designs and details that will guide the project build.

Alchemy’s completion of the first weeHouse in 2003, then just an inexpensive prefab cabin, gained international attention as a symbol of architectural optimism. Since then, Alchemy has widened its scope, developing the weeHouse as a prefabricated answer for cabins, houses, offices, rooftop studios, and multi-unit developments, and has completed over 3 dozen prefabricated projects around the United States.

Alchemy Architects is based in St. Paul, Minnesota (856 Raymond Ave. Studio G). To find out more about their projects, visit or email.


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About Kay Whatley 2309 Articles
Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.