project leader
Alex K
1296 N Rademacher St
(Detroit - Springwells Neighborhood)
latest update rss
Containers Secured

the project

The Unity House “tiny community center” is a platform for local creativity, tailored youth programming, and work-force development. The structure will be used to extend our Detroit-based STEM+Environmentalism curriculum year-round, as a community garden operations building, and as a safe-haven for community members.

It will feature:

  • Free-access Wi-Fi
  • Rainwater Harvesting
  • Solar Panels
  • Composting Toilets
  • Passive Heating/Cooling Design
  • Energy Recovery Systems
  • Panelized construction
  • Living Green Roof


We are seeking your support to fund Phase 2 construction of Unity House.

  • Phase 1 = drawings/permitting (complete), foundation (in progress), city power (in progress)
  • Phase 2 = Core Structure
  • Phase 3 = exterior + interior finishing
  • Phase 4 = solar and rain harvesting systems and living roof

This is the keystone development project in our Micro- Ecosystem (go to to learn more), applying industry-leading construction methods, demonstrating energy and water modesty, and inspiring the exchange of art, ideas, and opportunities through the power of space-based learning.

the steps

Project Steps:

  • Phase 1 Complete (foundation and utilities)
  • Commence Phase 2 – Sep 1st
  • Team of sub-contractors and skilled-trades organizations assembled - Sep 1st
  • SIP delivered and staged on-site – Sep 15th
  • Assembly (complete in 2 days) – Sep 19th
  • Doors and Windows Installed – Sep 23rd
  • Full weather-proof structure achieved – Sep 30th

 Maintaining our Values:

One of our Core Values is “preserving heritage and integrity by giving residents a platform to shape their own communities”. We plan to continue and refine our engagement activities during our weekly Community Cultivator meetings, which serves to build relationships and listen honestly about goals and the future of the space.

“Cultivating unilateral leadership” is another one of our Core Values. Led by our resident leaders, we continue to run the process of 1) gathering an intimate understanding of the community needs and 2) delivering solutions to those needs with compassion and solidarity. We go to individual neighbors’ homes within a 3x3 block neighborhood to move past virtual engagement and statistics, and into a more human understanding!

why we're doing it

We know that only by gathering all of our experiences, capabilities, and experiences, is it possible to deliver a more inclusive, hopeful future for people and the planet.

  1. For the immediate community, imagine a space designed specifically for expression and for their needs. With two resident leaders, who offered to lead the programming activities of the site, we have a strong pulse on what the community needs, such as ESL, college prep, after-school tutoring, networking opportunities for single mothers, intergenerational exchange. Creating such a space - with access to both indoor and outdoor learning and community building - will boost the local quality of life tremendously.
  2. For the surrounding community, our main priority is workforce development: sharing the skills of building a project of this caliber. As with our other successful projects, we uniquely graft innovations in green-building, including modular construction, solar, energy-recovery systems, living roofs. These design features connect with the highly marketable trades of the rapidly growing green economy. Construction of the space incorporates local contracting partners and training programs, tours to local organizations during off-days, and a video training series plus onsite signage to support continued learning long after construction is complete.
  3. For the city of Detroit, this building & project site will serve as a holistic model of affordability, beauty, inclusion, and harmony with the planet. Energy and Water conservation is paramount and made possible with partnerships with International Living Building Institute, widely considered the gold standard sustainability certification organization. We have a relationship with the City of Detroit Permitting, Zoning, and Building Safety departments with which we are exploring this uncharted territory together. Our journey and best practices will be openly shared online with reports, videos, and even a local crowdsourced magazine. Ultimately, this project will serve as a new standard for skills development, community building, and sustainability for the rest of the city of Detroit and others throughout the world.


Updated Budget (11.29.21):

SIP (Structurally Insulated Panels) - $20,000

Machinery - $407.55

TOTAL RAISED = $20,915.00
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $507.45


Original Budget:

SIP (Structurally Insulated Panels) - $26,0000

Windows + Doors - $6450

Labor - $1800

Machinery - $750

ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)

Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.


Containers Secured

  • The 2 shipping containers have been placed onto our low-carbon pier foundations
    • Salvaging steel is a fantastic way to reduce carbon footprint of a new construction
    • The containers are of course salvaged, but even our reinforcement beams were scrap steel from a partner organization
    • Early LCA estimates offsetting 60% of the carbon emissions of the entire build
  • We teamed up with the amazing folks at Welding Concepts Training to secure the containers
    • Our dream is to build these structures while training skilled-trades in the city
    • So we used this opportunity to mentor apprentice welders through real on-site fab+weld work. They ran into PLENTY of challenges!
  • Next up, we will be installing city power
  • Then, given the success thus far of this campaign, we have queued up the SIP manufacturers


Phase 1 Updates (Foundation, Shipping Containers, and Power):

  • Foundation has been dug, city inspector approved our work (!), and the concrete has been poured
    • By using Steel Slag aggregate (byproduct of steel industry) we offset carbon emissions by 31.5%
    • We used EXACTLY how much concrete we needed, to eliminate waste. Sometimes it's better to be lucky! haha
    • We also saved estimated $3000 on labor, equipment, and fabricated materials by doing most of the work ourselves
  • Next up, a shipping container is on it's way and we will build the "above ground basement" of Unity House with help of welding training facility, Welding Concepts Training
  • Then, with DTE site survey complete, we are prepared to work with our Electrician to connect up power




This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Paula C.
  • Josie K.
  • Michaela G Mujica-Steiner
  • Whelan family
  • G L.
  • Debra H.
  • JL & TT
  • Sophia Kim’s family
  • Amos M.
  • Anonymous
  • Sun Kim
  • Sung Yun K.
  • Susan Kwon
  • Rakesh Saxena
  • MarkinColorado
  • Diane Cheklich
  • DelphiaintheD
  • Torsten W.
  • Max Gruenig
  • Fred M.
  • C Ferguson
  • Sarah Burger
  • Allison H.
  • Jodee R.
  • Anna B.
  • RM
  • Jay Kwon
  • betty d.
  • Shinoh and Karen Kim
  • JAMES B.