The folks at Informal Office, a design practice located in Lexington, Kentucky, recently sent the Lab information on their new plan for a tiny house village for the unhoused. Below is photos and information on their project, Under One Roof:
A call for proposals was initiated by the AIA North Carolina Activate 14 committee and the Raleigh/Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness to address a new typology of urban housing in the form of a twelve unit community of tiny homes just outside of downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. Activate 14 called for designs that would offer affordable housing to serve people without a stable dwelling place and as a way toenliven the social fabric of underserved areas and populations.
The shortlisted design by Informal Office of Lexington, KY asked a simple question: When considering housing for the formerly homeless, how is it different than housing for anyone else? Issues of ownership, personal privacy, and storage were pr ioritized, but ultimately, the architecture should make homeless housing a seamless part of its community. Homeless individuals constantly live their private lives in public. Despite this public exposure, there is a clear social disengagement between these individuals and the public majority. Their design consists of a row of shotgun houses connected by a single roof and shared front porch. This connectivity establishes a series of private-public relationships along the front porch, and allows the residents to cultivate a sense of individual ownership while simultaneously feeling a part of both the immediate residential community, and the larger downtown area.
Their project, Under One Roof, is a connected row of twelve 144 square foot houses flanking a centered community building. Residents are both owners of their private unit and active members of their twelve-home neighborhood. Individuality is expressed by unique roof pitches and color choices for each home. The single roof and shared porch unite these individual structures. The structure of the roof is braced by adjacent units and the continuous front porch becomes a linear social scene visible from the street. The homes, community building, and porch, work together to define the project as a cohesive architectural mass; a single building made from individual parts. As a way to present a substantial scale to the street front, Informal Office chose to consider the unification of tiny houses, into what at first glance appears to be a single building. This idea is reinforced by the use of a permeable porch screen that helps define the project as a single building consisting of parts. Tiny homes, although small in scale as individual units, should still offer a sense of stability and permanence. Every resident has their own full bathroom, full height storage wall, and sleeping quarters organized as a “shorter shotgun house”. Shared kitchen, dining, laundry, and meeting spaces are housed in the community building.
The primary cladding material of the units, community building, and porch screen is recycled wood shipping palettes sourced from a nearby palette recycling center. Once deconstructed, the shipping palettes provide a variety of dimensions and unpredictable textures. Using appropriate scale, simple site strategy, widely available materials, and a continuity of social spaces, the project proposes a housing typology for transitional communities that uses commonly understood building techniques in a way that produces a distinctive, but familiar response to the surrounding context.
See more designs for Under One Roof here.