Residents in Knoxville, home of HGTV.com, may notice an addition to the Knoxville Botanical Gardens — a small house solely made of shipping pallets. A local organization, Knox Pallet House, is behind this repurposed home. Knox Pallet House aims to provide quality, affordable housing to the radically poor and homeless by building homes made of shipping pallets donated from local businesses.
Photo Credit: R. Bentley Marlow
The model house at the Botanical Gardens aims to bring public attention to temporary housing for the homeless. Residents can interact with the house while listening to music from local artists during the city’s annual Rhythm N’ Blooms Festival this weekend. The ultimate goal — for the city to make building code exceptions to allow for a pallet house subdivision to be built around a community shower, laundry and kitchen facility for the homeless.
Check out our interview with project leads Bentley Marlow and Prat Singh.
Design Happens: What was your inspiration for this project?
Bentley and Prat: The inspiration came from two architects with I-BEAM Design in 1999. Their mission was to provide housing for Eastern Europe’s refugee population. We felt there was a strong possibility this could be an excellent model for housing Knoxville’s homeless population because it is a fact that housing first is the only proven and effective way to approach homelessness issues in any community.
DH: What is your ultimate goal for the pallet house?
B and P: The ultimate goal for Knox Pallet House is to start a dialogue in our city to explore the possibility of developing a housing community for Knoxville’s homeless population.
DH: How long is the display open?
B and P: From sunrise to sunset through April 14th
DH: How long have you been working on this project, and how many volunteers have contributed?
B and P: The construction took a total of three weeks because we were building outside of our regular schedules. The actual construction moves pretty quickly once it gets going. We had eight volunteers and several community business and organization contributions. This project would not have been possible without the efforts of every single one of them. This is why we think Knoxville is a great place for this project to take off. This city is exceptionally collaborative — it is a really unique place on the map.
What organizations make a difference in your community? Tell us in the comments below.