Community Support Focus Public Interest Design for Johnson Family, Metaamo Architecture

Coconut Lumber Housing

The Johnson’s are a multi-generation Marshallese family who lost their home to a fire some years ago. Their property is located within a stone’s throw to the Ocean and about 5 minutes to the SDA Laura campus.

Considering the amount of time to secure the lease on the SDA project as well as additional funding needed to begin Phase 1, the Johnson family home project has emerged as a pre-phase
to the SDA Project.

The goal with the Johnson family home build is to implement some of the design and building concepts that the team would eventually like to apply to the SDA Laura Campus, and beyond, involving construction materials, assemblies, and methods that are climate-appropriate and go beyond the status quo. This is an opportunity to inspire and engage locals on Majuro with a new way of building that addresses the challenges of the changing climate (most notably, rising waters and increase in powerful storms), as well as an opportunity to use the building process to train locals and leave behind livelihoods as well as the potential to repair when the environment takes its toll.


The Lease and location of the build on Johnson’s property has been secured and the design phase of the project is underway. Matt Bunza is the lead designer on the project and Mark Rylant, prefab builder of BLDhouse has committed time and willingness to complete part of the build in Washington State.

The desire to complete part of the project as a pre-fab to be shipped overseas in a container is to maintain some control over the build and to take away any variables in the assembly in the Marshall Islands.


Coconut Lumber



A local mill has been donated to the community in Majuro and is actively being used to produce coconut lumber.

More information to come.


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