This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

The Architect-Designed, Prefabricated Tiny House Of The Future

Tiny Homes

With Australian house prices currently experiencing inexplicable growth, more Australians than ever before are being priced out of the traditional property market. Meanwhile, many of us have also found ourselves working from home over the past year…  so it’s no surprise Australia is seeing an uptick in alternative housing solutions.

Among them is Minima – a series of prefabricated, small dwellings developed by FABPREFAB, designed by TRIAS architects, and constructed using CLT (cross laminated timber). 

The project is available in multiple configurations, to serve as either a home office, living space, bedroom, or entire tiny house. It’s one of the only architect-designed, modular tiny houses on the market in Australia, and can be built to order in as little as 12 weeks!

2nd March, 2021

Minima is a series of prefabricated small dwellings created by FABPREFAB, and designed by TRIAS. Photo – Clinton Weaver

The project is available in multiple configurations to serve as either a home office, living space, bedroom, or entire tiny house. Photo – Clinton Weaver

Minima’s smartest design feature is its inherent flexibility: a single module can be joined into a dual configuration, without changing the essential design. Photo – Clinton Weaver

Options include those with a kitchen and bathroom. Photo – Clinton Weaver

Minima is built from locally manufactured CLT (cross laminated timber) – sustainable timbers that are laminated into large panels. Photo – Clinton Weaver

Other materials used in Minima include cypress, Victorian ash timber veneers and porcelain tiles, which feature in the kitchen and bathroom. Photo – Clinton Weaver

Minima is most suitable for three key demographics: existing home owners seeking added breathing space; those interested in a permanent, architect-designed tiny house; and accommodation operators. Photo – Clinton Weaver

Amelia Barnes
Tuesday 2nd March 2021

‘This is a vision we believe in wholeheartedly, and one we hope will change the way we build in Australia.’ – Jennifer McMaster

When designing and building a new house in Australia, there are currently very few options between mass-produced plans, and architect-designed bespoke projects. For those who can’t afford the latter, or are seeking something more considered than the former, Minima is an attractive alternative.

The project is the brainchild of prefabrication and modular residential construction company FABPREFAB, who collaborated with Sydney based TRIAS architects based on their Slate Cabin design – a 13 square metre hiking cabin built in Snowdonia National Park in Wales. The brief was to create a similarly compact dwelling that fits standard trucking widths (for transportation).

Trias initially began designing a one-bedroom ‘garden apartment’, looking internationally for inspiration. ‘We looked at all kinds of global examples, ranging from micro-apartments in New York to luxury cabins in Scandinavia. These spaces taught us the importance of flexible planning and attention to detail,’ says Jennifer McMaster, principal at Trias. ‘The best examples also used very few materials, a technique which makes small spaces feel unified and calm.’

The practice were keen to avoid the stereotypical ‘prefab look’, which Jennifer says is often characterised by small openings, standard materials, and cheap detailing.

As demand for a wider range of products was realised, Minima expanded to include larger two-module options, and other configurations. The completed project is now available in six arrangements ranging from 24.5 square metres (including spare bedrooms, home offices, and all-inclusive tiny houses) and larger, standalone dwellings of 72 square metres.

All Minima projects have been designed in harmony, meaning a single module can be joined into a dual configuration, without changing the essential design. ‘Similarly, the plumbing points for kitchens and bathrooms always stay in the same spot, which makes construction more streamlined,’ Jennifer says.

Jennifer envisions Minima as most suitable for three key demographics: existing home owners seeking added breathing space; those interested in a permanent, architect-designed tiny house; and accommodation operators.

Prices for Minima start at around $130,000 and stretch to $250,000 (excluding site specific costs, such as approvals, delivery and service connections) depending on size and layout. Dwellings are constructed using CLT manufactured by XLam in their Wodonga factory; can be built in as little as 12 weeks; and delivered Australia-wide.

As Minima dwellings are more affordable than most conventional architectural builds, Jennifer hopes they will provide a viable housing alternative for design-conscious consumers.

‘Minima is our chance, as architects, to offer good, progressive and sustainable design to more people,’ Jennifer says. ‘This is a vision we believe in wholeheartedly, and one we hope will change the way we build in Australia.’

This Week

Creative People

Artist and Yindjibarndi Elder Wendy Hubert On Mapping Country + Culture

Our new columnist Jirra Lulla Harvey talks to respected Yindjibarndi Elder, artist, Cultural Custodian and linguist, Wendy Hubert about Coun...
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Creative People

Landscape Studio Ayus Botanical On Creating Calming + Enduring Gardens

The husband-and-wife team of Ayus Botanical share the thoughtful processes behind their lush residential and commercial projects!
Christina Karras
  13 hours ago

Stays

A Dreamy Getaway With Panoramic Views In The Heart Of Hobart

Edwardian architecture meets a Japanese-style extension at this peaceful Tasmanian retreat, complete with spectacular views of the city, riv...
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Mediterranean-Inspired Holiday Home Right On The Water’s Edge

CLO Studios styled the interior of this new Noosa home (dubbed Sky Garden) with earthy tones and pieces by local artists.

News

Bruce Munro's Spectacular Light Installations Are Coming To Heide

See a showcase of light and colour when the acclaimed English-Australian artist takes over Heide Museum of Modern Art and its gardens!
Sponsored

Interiors

Two Sleek + Stylish Side-By-Side Homes On One Block!

This dual-occupancy build by Boutique Developments proves developments don't have to be generic, with each unit offering up its own contrast...
Christina Karras
2:04

Inside Look

Behind The Scenes At The NGV’s Epic New Picasso Exhibition

Exhibition designer Allie Mactier takes us through one of the National Gallery of Victoria's biggest exhibitions ever.

Interiors

The 2022 Australian Interior Design Awards Winners!

From Troye Sivan's divine Flack Studio residence to a converted warehouse abode, the industry’s best designers and projects have been reve...
Christina Karras

Homes

A Creative Couple’s Loft-Style Pad, With Brooklyn Vibes!

Designer Phi Do and his husband Yaniv Brayer give us a tour through their warehouse-style Richmond townhouse.

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Costume + Production Designer, Catherine Martin

The four-time Oscar winning designer shares insights from her career working alongside husband Baz Luhrmann, and how she helped bring 'Elvis...
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Timeless Renovation Incorporating Three Eras Of Design History

The Autumn House by Studio Bright unites a Victorian terrace with its 1980s renovation by architect Mick Jörgensen, in one contemporary des...

Gardens

A Cottagecore Folly Buried At The Bottom Of A Grand Garden

Cameron Kimber’s pocket-sized patch contains a folly and a sweet guest cottage mirroring his stately home in the Southern Highlands.

Studio Visit

Kelly Thompson’s Playful Preston Showroom Clashes Colour In The Best Way

The clever creative behind online store, Makers’ Mrkt, gives us an inside look at her fun Preston stockroom-turned-store!
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Green New Addition For An Ageing Edwardian Home

Brave New Eco revitalises an existing Brunswick home for multiple generations with a new extension, natural material palette and clever use

Architecture

A Compact + Colourful Extension Of A Fun Family Home

Foomann Architects replaced this Melbourne home's dated extension with a personality-filled renovation, behind a vibrant pink door!
Christina Karras
  21 hours ago

View Comments

Similar Stories

Sustainable Homes

A Zero-Waste, Two Bedroom Home In The Middle Of Melbourne’s Federation Square!

Anti-waste crusader Joost Bakker takes us inside the culmination of his life’s work - a completely non-toxic, self-sufficient home!
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

The New Architect-Designed Tiny Home You Can Actually Buy

Grimshaw Architects has joined forces with Kids Under Cover to create a flat-pack micro house, with all proceeds going to support kids facin...
Elle Murrell

Tiny Homes

A Tiny Handmade Home Built By A Father-Daughter Duo!

With home ownership out of reach for Camilla Walker, she and her dad Patrick hand-built this tiny one-bedroom home at the bottom of the fami...
Sasha Gattermayr

This Week

Architecture

A Compact + Colourful Extension Of A Fun Family Home

Foomann Architects replaced this Melbourne home's dated extension with a personality-filled renovation, behind a vibrant pink door!
Christina Karras
  21 hours ago

Creative People

Landscape Studio Ayus Botanical On Creating Calming + Enduring Gardens

The husband-and-wife team of Ayus Botanical share the thoughtful processes behind their lush residential and commercial projects!
Christina Karras
  13 hours ago

News

Bruce Munro's Spectacular Light Installations Are Coming To Heide

See a showcase of light and colour when the acclaimed English-Australian artist takes over Heide Museum of Modern Art and its gardens!
Sponsored

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Costume + Production Designer, Catherine Martin

The four-time Oscar winning designer shares insights from her career working alongside husband Baz Luhrmann, and how she helped bring 'Elvis...
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Green New Addition For An Ageing Edwardian Home

Brave New Eco revitalises an existing Brunswick home for multiple generations with a new extension, natural material palette and clever use

Gardens

A Cottagecore Folly Buried At The Bottom Of A Grand Garden

Cameron Kimber’s pocket-sized patch contains a folly and a sweet guest cottage mirroring his stately home in the Southern Highlands.

Architecture

A Timeless Renovation Incorporating Three Eras Of Design History

The Autumn House by Studio Bright unites a Victorian terrace with its 1980s renovation by architect Mick Jörgensen, in one contemporary des...
2:04

Inside Look

Behind The Scenes At The NGV’s Epic New Picasso Exhibition

Exhibition designer Allie Mactier takes us through one of the National Gallery of Victoria's biggest exhibitions ever.

Stays

A Dreamy Getaway With Panoramic Views In The Heart Of Hobart

Edwardian architecture meets a Japanese-style extension at this peaceful Tasmanian retreat, complete with spectacular views of the city, riv...
Christina Karras

Interiors

The 2022 Australian Interior Design Awards Winners!

From Troye Sivan's divine Flack Studio residence to a converted warehouse abode, the industry’s best designers and projects have been reve...
Christina Karras

Interiors

A Mediterranean-Inspired Holiday Home Right On The Water’s Edge

CLO Studios styled the interior of this new Noosa home (dubbed Sky Garden) with earthy tones and pieces by local artists.

Studio Visit

Kelly Thompson’s Playful Preston Showroom Clashes Colour In The Best Way

The clever creative behind online store, Makers’ Mrkt, gives us an inside look at her fun Preston stockroom-turned-store!
Christina Karras

Homes

A Creative Couple’s Loft-Style Pad, With Brooklyn Vibes!

Designer Phi Do and his husband Yaniv Brayer give us a tour through their warehouse-style Richmond townhouse.

Creative People

Artist and Yindjibarndi Elder Wendy Hubert On Mapping Country + Culture

Our new columnist Jirra Lulla Harvey talks to respected Yindjibarndi Elder, artist, Cultural Custodian and linguist, Wendy Hubert about Coun...
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Interiors

Two Sleek + Stylish Side-By-Side Homes On One Block!

This dual-occupancy build by Boutique Developments proves developments don't have to be generic, with each unit offering up its own contrast...
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Sustainable Homes

A Zero-Waste, Two Bedroom Home In The Middle Of Melbourne’s Federation Square!

Anti-waste crusader Joost Bakker takes us inside the culmination of his life’s work.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

The New Architect-Designed Tiny Home You Can Actually Buy

Grimshaw Architects has joined forces with Kids Under Cover to create a flat-pack micro house.
Elle Murrell

Tiny Homes

A Tiny Handmade Home Built By A Father-Daughter Duo!

With home ownership out of reach for Camilla Walker, she and her dad Patrick hand-built this tiny one-bedroom home at the bottom of the fami...
Sasha Gattermayr

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net