Tiny Homes Can Make a Big Impact in How We Think of Housing

Tiny Homes Can Make a Big Impact in How We Think of Housing

The issue of the housing deficit plagues virtually all countries today. According to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute, 330 million urban families worldwide lack decent housing, or housing costs are so heavy that they need to forgo other basic needs such as food, heath care, and education for children. According to the WRI (World Resources Institute), it is estimated that 1.6 billion people will lack adequate housing by the year 2025.

Solving this problem is, understandably, complex. Having good housing means much more than simply having a roof over your head. Good housing is essential for physical and financial security, economic productivity, and human well-being. In addition to adequate comfort, it is essential that these houses are integrated with the city, jobs, infrastructure, and city services. For people living on the street, this issue is even more delicate. Among many other necessities, having a place to structure a life is essential to moving forward and prospering. One project that confronts this issue is Emerald Village Eugene (EVE), an affordable micro-housing community with a unique housing model structured to enable residents to transition from the streets.

Courtesy of DEN Tiny House
Courtesy of DEN Tiny House

EVE provides an accessible and sustainable housing option for people with very low incomes, featuring Tiny Homes that are safe, livable, and affordable within a stable community setting. Each of the 22 homes at EVE are designed as permanent dwellings on slab foundations, and include sleeping and living areas, kitchenettes, and full bathrooms. Residents are not simply renters – they are members of a housing cooperative with an ownership share in the village, giving them a modest financial asset that can be cashed out if and when they choose to move out. Teams of local architects and builders provided in-kind services to lead the design and construction of the units, creating a community that showcases a variety of compact design and construction methods. One of these units is the DEN Tiny House by Campfire Collaborative. DEN is an acronym for Dignify, Empower, Nurture – a design that aims to provide a safe and independent life for people of all abilities. The compact and ergonomic design is accessible to wheelchair users, can support a single occupant with a service animal, and all the while minimizes the costs of rent and utilities by limiting the interior area to an astonishing 158 square feet (14.7 m2).

Courtesy of DEN Tiny House
Courtesy of DEN Tiny House

Even though the project has a minimal footprint, the open layout and vaulted ceiling make it feel more spacious. Custom built-ins provide ample storage that is flexible yet uncomplicated, and generous amenities include integrated cooking and laundry, a curbless tile shower, and attention to wheelchair accessibility throughout. Doors and operable windows are situated for maximum cross-ventilation, and generous covered porches extend the living space and connect to the community's common areas. 

Courtesy of DEN Tiny House
Courtesy of DEN Tiny House

The building’s exterior metal cladding wraps continuously from roof to wall, forming a very low maintenance shell that is both durable and sustainable. The architect selected the AEP Span Design Span HP product because of the concealed clip system and ease of installation for volunteers helping with construction. The metal panels are available in a broad range of colors, with options for material thickness, rib height/profile, and panel width and patterns. A 16” panel width was specified for this project, with intermediate striations and high profile ribs to reinforce the visual and structural continuity as the panels wrap from roof to wall plane. The designers were also able to realize their vision for a dark grey envelope without compromising the energy performance of the building by selecting “Cool Zinc Gray” from the SRI-enhanced color lines offered by AEP Span.

Courtesy of DEN Tiny House
Courtesy of DEN Tiny House

Design Span® hp Metal Roofing is a performance-rated structural standing seam metal roof panel perfect for residential, commercial, retail, civic, or multi-use building applications. Long-lasting, durable, and sustainable, Design Span hp is excellent as a roof over metal or wood decking, and as a fascia or mansard over plywood or supports. It blends seamlessly with other traditional building materials to provide the perfect design flexibility for architects, as well as home and building owners.

The Tiny Houses movement has grown in recent years, especially in the United States, where residences tend to be large, often contain underutilized space that contributes to high costs, and typically use an unsustainable amount of environmental resources to build and operate. Tiny Houses are gaining traction worldwide as a means of downsizing to a slightly simpler and more conscious life, encouraging the construction of structures with reduced areas, which are nonetheless highly efficient and versatile.

Tiny Houses are unlikely to be the solution the global housing crisis, but they certainly have a role to play by providing a compact, detached housing option that is approachable and flexible. Whether for people looking to downsize their existing lifestyle, or for those in need of improved housing stability, or even for homeowners aiming to build a rentable second unit on their lot, Tiny Houses contribute to increased housing stock and provide an opportunity for improved quality of life through a smaller financial and ecological footprint.

Learn more about the project here.

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Cite: Eduardo Souza. "Tiny Homes Can Make a Big Impact in How We Think of Housing" 17 Jun 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/941623/tiny-homes-can-make-a-big-impact-in-how-we-think-of-housing/> ISSN 0719-8884

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