12/31 Deadline Looms in Tiny House Design Competition

Tiny homes community design competition closes January 30, 2016

Tiny homes community design competition closes January 30, 2016

The American Institute of Architects in Chicago invites you to share your ideas for the emerging typology for urban housing called Tiny Homes. This competition is an opportunity for architects, students, artists and members of the public to propose new solutions to Chicago’s affordable housing shortage by designing a Tiny Homes community in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville neighborhood as a prototype for future development possibilities.

Deadline for questions: January 15, 2016
Deadline for submissions: January 30, 2016

The winner will receive a $5,000 award and opportunity to construct a full-size demonstration unit.

The winner will receive an additional $5,000 fee to develop construction drawings. If the winner is not a licensed architect in the state of Illinois, winner must team up with a licensed architect in Illinois to produce the construction drawings.

Tiny Homes can provide a lower-cost solution to the need for affordable and subsidized housing in Chicago; particularly for those young adults living without stable housing. Micro-living has become a trend in diverse communities, but has only recently been introduced as a low-cost, viable, quality-of-life-enhancing alternative to homeless shelters.

With their own private space in a planned development young adults can safely store personal belongings, including clothes, textbooks and legal documents; as well, they provide young adults with privacy within a shared community—all components of an important step on their path to full independence.

This competition was launched in conjunction with the Tiny Homes Summit, taking place April 18–19, 2016, at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

According to the 2015 Chicago Homeless Count and Survey conducted by the City of Chicago, 31% of the unsheltered homeless population and 19% of those that are sheltered are between the ages of 18 and 24 years old. Though these numbers are startling, many of the city’s homeless young adults are actively working to improve their quality of life—working toward their GEDs, holding jobs or taking courses in college.​

Yet, even when sheltered, these young people are burdened by impermanence: many are forced out of shelters during the day with no place to store their belongings during work or interviews; they have no privacy for studying, let alone space for self-care. Transience means they often lack stable communities for support. Tiny houses can provide solutions for these young individuals seeking stability, support, safety and community.

This competition invites teams from across the country to submit their ideas for a small community of tiny homes in Chicago. Though speculative, the partners involved in launching this competition believe that good design can contribute to innovative solutions, and by engaging the design community in this competition, we are taking steps toward turning these solutions into reality.

Learn more about the competition and how to enter – http://www.tinyhomeschicago.org/

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Elaine Walker