May 4, 2016

"The winning design for the American Institute of Architects' competition to design a tiny house community for Chicago was built in two days and displayed at the University of Illinois-Chicago campus."



Hmm. Strangely porch-heavy don't you think?

They invited commentary from 3 formerly homeless persons, one of whom said "Well, I really didn't like it, I'm going to be honest because ... you really can't put that much stuff in that little house. I mean I just think it was just... it would be bigger than that."

53 comments:

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Why does it look like a scaled down gas station?

tim maguire said...

When the homeless guy turns up his nose because it's too small...then it's perfect for a millennial freelance graphic artist!

Quaestor said...

Porch heavy? Probably not. If you're going to live in 200 square feet being outside when the weather permits will be attractive.

The odd thing is the butterfly roof line, which hasn't been a stylish architectural feature since the 1950's. It does reduce the cost of drainage, but historically bad performance in Tornado Alley made that style mostly unacceptable.

Rae said...

Is it just the perspective of the picture, or is there going to be a lot of standing water on that roof?

And yeah, the point of the house in the U.S. is to store your stuff, while you go out and buy more.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Tiny homes, which can be as little as 50 to 300 square feet, are growing in popularity as a solution for the homeless. In Chicago, advocates want to build tiny houses to serve a specific marginalized group – homeless youth, especially those who identify as LGBTQ.

Judas priest on a two stroke moped.

Amadeus 48 said...

Or you could just buy up failed motels scattered around the city and put a hot plate in each unit.

madAsHell said...

"Well, I really didn't like it, I'm going to be honest because ... you really can't put that much stuff in that little house. I mean I just think it was just... it would be bigger than that."

There must be larger shopping carts in fly-over country.
The house will be a tear down when this guy is done with it.

tim maguire said...

Great pull-quote Pants. On the plus side, they'll only need 3 or 4 to house the entire target group. I predict mission creep in their future.

Quaestor said...

In Chicago, advocates want to build tiny houses to serve a specific marginalized group – homeless youth, especially those who identify as LGBTQ.

Aw, crap! The joint's so small they'll be gluing on their artificial lady parts on the porch in front of god and everybody.

buwaya puti said...

Simple solution - go to San Francisco, look for surviving examples of the old 1906 Earthquake shacks/cottages, built in thousands then to house Earthquake refugees. Many remained in service as garages and toolshed's and even small houses. These things are ridiculously sturdy and durable.
Copy them in an industrial scale and deploy them in large residential parks, where there is cheap land.
It would cost very little to simply provide housing, no new architecture required. Vast acreage of little houses, with communal plumbing, services, etc. Far away from where anyone wants to live.
These will be, immediately, ghost towns.
One of those earthquake shacks, on Telegraph Hill, San Francisco sold in 2014 for $800k.
The whole idea of little houses is idiotic. It's not what to build, but where.

rehajm said...

If you look at the AIA site It shows the context for the house and the porch. The plan is to string them together like brownstones or victorians and let the porches run together. Urban architects love transitional outdoor spaces. This seems to work pretty well in that context.

It also seems to live large as far as tiny houses go. Some of those HGTV hipsters should have it so good. No wheels, though...

coupe said...

It's not a good design for ice and snow. Also, I would have included rain barrels and solar water heating.

The porch doesn't protect the occupants from drive-by shooters, and should include a steel plate, which can also be used for graffiti, which is part of the ambiance of the inner city.

Chris said...

My problem with this house is that it reminds me of people who wear their ball caps with the bill flipped up.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

That place would be just right for anyone with a large collection of wind chimes.

pm317 said...

Porch heavy? Yes because not enough is inside. I grew up in a small house but in a tropical country where year round we had good weather. We also had a huge front yard with fruit trees and my mom's beautiful garden. I would just put a chair in the front (we didn't have a porch) and sit and read and read. Our front door was always open. And you are right about the poverty tag. That is what irritates me about this tiny house development here. And the HGTV program announcement and the young people saying they want to work less and live more and that they are redefining success irritates the fuck out of me. It is all moving backward. In the country I grew up, if there were well paid jobs and you could rise up working hard they would. This country is moving backward and (the liberals) glorifying it.

Paddy O said...

It looks like the combined bathrooms and information kiosks one sees at the beginning of trails or in county/state parks.

Terry said...

How much does it cost compared to an Airstream trailer?
Let's not reinvent the wheel, people.

cubanbob said...

As noted above the roof line looks horrible with respects to snow, rain and tornadoes but maybe good for solar panels. The ramp needs a railing so when drunk the risk of stepping down the side and breaking an ankle or worse is minimized.

virgil xenophon said...

"Judas Priest on a two stroke moped."

LOL! Ah say..I'm a stealin' that..

damikesc said...

In Chicago, advocates want to build tiny houses to serve a specific marginalized group — homeless youth, especially those who identify as LGBTQ.

Guys, "Animal Farm" wasn't a book of praise. It didn't praise the "some are more equal than others" mentality of Socialism/Communism. Lit professors are really, really terrible.

buwaya puti said...

Much more practical is large apartment buildings placed where people can get to work easily, near city centers, with public transportation. Huge numbers can be housed far more cheaply, with much more space and all modern conveniences.
Poor people can live in these at little to no cost.
This has in fact been a very common solution to this problem for over a century in enlightened places.
Oh wait, there was a reason this didn't work out wasn't there?

Paco Wové said...

"string them together like brownstones or victorians and let the porches run together"

Artisanal shantytowns.

Quaestor said...

This tiny house thing will never work because the footprint of any house except the most palatial is prohibitively expensive in most cities. That's why developers who want to make money rather than waste it build up, even when the units are downscale. The only way it would work is to deport the "homeless" to the distant countryside, beyond suburbia to land even without agricultural use. I don't see this happening since the "homeless" (especially the trans kind) prefer the big cities. Your everyday garden variety drug-addled beggar wants plenty of panhandling opportunities. The truly desperate who've lost their homes to foreclosure or other misfortune want lots of opportunity for new employment or at least day labor, and the trannies want lots of people around because what the use of exhibitionism if nobody's around to watch.

pm317 said...

@Quaestor, yeah.. land is a premium in most big cities and where would you find land to put these tiny houses, maybe in their parents' backyard. And most people want to live where their work is.

Matt said...

Given the size of the porch, you can be sure the "Porch space" was not counted as square footage. If you had the actual footprint for that extra space, why wouldn't you incorporate it into the interior?

Quaestor said...

Of course we must bear in mind that house was designed by architecture students, not working architects with jobs and mortgages and dizzy undisciplined children enrolled in elite schools where they study such things as tiny houses.

Unknown said...

pm317, I feel exactly the same way about that stupid HGTV ad with their stupid, superior-acting people. Try having a couple of kids and hoping for their future and talk to me in 20 years. Gah, I sound old. Too bad, I sound wise, too.

John said...

Hard to have much of an opinion when:

1) There are no dimensions

2) There is no floorplan

3) there is no cost/price

I find the uptilted roof a bit offputting but if it were just me in the house, it looks like it might be big enough. I know people who live on boats that have, probably, much less space. My Office is 10 X 10 so about half the size of the house (assuming it is 200 sq feet) I could see living by myself in a 10X10 living room with a small kitchen on the side and another 10X10 for sleeping, bathroom and closet.

At the moment all I have to go on for scale is the people standing in front. Rather a useless article without that info.

Also what'll it cost? I'm guessing $200,000 or so given the tony architects and so on.

John Henry

Quaestor said...

If you had the actual footprint for that extra space, why wouldn't you incorporate it into the interior?

Because to do that would be to acknowledge that people prefer comfort to lack of comfort and space to lack of space, which would make the whole project appear stupid and wasteful, which in turn would be reminiscence of reality, which in turn would intrude on the students' safe space, and we can't tolerate that, can we?

Amadeus 48 said...

Where are the furnace and the water heater? Utilities? Large format HDTV? Room for a hot tub on that porch?

Quaestor said...

There is an upside to having as much porch as heated floorspace, which is a valid excuse to keep visitors outside.

John said...

Rhajm,

Thanks for the link. Now that I've looked at the AIA site with layout and dimensions, I take back what I said. Doesn't look bad for a single person. Also the price of $18m for materials means that, with lot, the price will probably be $75m or so. Not too bad.

John Henry

Michael K said...

It looks like a box trap. I used to bait one with avocado for skunks.

Maybe that's the idea.

Dan Hossley said...

Tiny houses are not an aspiration, they are a confession.

EMD said...

If you're going to live in 200 square feet being outside when the weather permits will be attractive.

In Chicago?

pm317 said...

Tiny houses are not an aspiration, they are a confession.

huh.. I like that which is what it is. Not that I approve of MacMansions but people, be reasonable.

EMD said...

If were single, I'd consider a tiny, cheaper place and spend my money on experiences not furnishings and "stuff" in the Carlin sense.

Darrell said...

Do they know it snows in Chicago? I think the roof design needs a little work.

Static Ping said...

This is a solution to a symptom instead of the actual problem. The problem of homelessness, at least in the United States, is typically not due to a lack of shelter. Most homeless are the product of bad decisions, typically fueled by drug addiction, mental illness, or both. The former need rehab and the latter need institutions which we foolishly eliminated. For most homeless, giving them a house will solve nothing. The drug addict will have this thing in ruins in a year. The crazy person will fill it with junk or feces and sleep on the ground outside. For those that fit into neither category, basic social services usually works sufficiently. If social services did not have to deal with all the drug addicts and crazy people, it might actually be a well run service.

If the problem was insufficient shelter, the solution is to build up. Big tall buildings with lots of apartments work just fine as long as the residents are not drug addicts, crazy people, or professional criminals. The problem with inner city projects was it tended to stuff lots of those three groups into the buildings with predictable results. The lack of any feeling of ownership did not help for those that would otherwise make good tenants.

BrianE said...

Converted shipping containers are more cost effective if the goal really is to house homeless.
Tiny houses are built on trailer frames for a reason. They aren't subject to onerous property taxes. The porch is important but it shouldn't tilt up since that defeats it's purpose of protecting against the sun/elements and should be screened.
People will live on the porch and sleep in the structure.

Horrible use of land though. They should be stacked. Urban property is too valuable.

Nice project for a third year architect student, I suppose.

Here in our little community, one of the church groups were bundling cardboard boxes together to create sleeping spaces for indigent persons during the winter. They were asking for donations of blankets to make them "livable".

Paul Zrimsek said...

Put together a row of these especially for trannies and people are going to call it a J. Edgar Hooverville.

PB said...

Barack Obamaville.

NPR and the architects don't really understand the genesis of the tiny house movement. It's not to shelter the homeless, but to provide affordable housing for people who don't want or need much.

William said...

How long did it take to breed those cute little horses that are about the size of a cocker spaniel? Don't raise the bridge. Lower the river. If more people were the size of Peter Dinklage, those tiny homes would be plenty spacious.......With a crash program in genetics, I think we could have many more little people within a generation and many of these problems would be solved.

Sigivald said...

How does the roof drain?

And why ... brick?

This is what happens when you let "designers" do whatever they feel like rather than being constrained to user requirements and a budget.

Char Char Binks said...

There's a reason porch roofs slope down and out, and they've been that way for centuries, so why go against that now? Don't they have rain, snow and wind in Chicago? Architecture is utilitarian and straightforward, and there's no reason architects shouldn't treat it that way, even if they are gay.

This small house movement seems to be spearheaded by people who are ashamed to be alive and taking up space on Mother Earth. They should all be housed in 84" x 28" x 23" biodegradable wooden boxes.

JaimeRoberto said...

Many years ago Michael Moore had a show where he proposed housing the homeless in self-storage units. Maybe it's time to revisit that idea.

CWJ said...

Looking at the AIA page that rehajm linked, the whole project looks just like Amadeus 48's 8:45AM suggestion minus the second floor. Reinventing the wheel indeed!

wildswan said...

Why not give this house to one of the target group and then follow his life living in it in a journal she has to keep? Get a real idea of what that group does - their pathways, their stuff. And the tenant can alter the house, if they want. And then redesign the house to suit their reality at the end of a year. And show the two designs side by side.

Michael K said...

" Most homeless are the product of bad decisions, typically fueled by drug addiction, mental illness, or both."

Most are off their meds and will not take them. Houses have nothing to do with it.

CWJ said...

I suspect this thread is dead, but I find this post fascinating for a number of reasons. Not so much the misleading uicc photo, but the AIA page linked by rehajm. First of all I call bullshit on the two day construction. That's a lot of custom brickwork to be done in two days not to mention the rest of the house. Still, looking at the AIA page, I would think that hundreds of thousands of Manhattanites would kill for that floor plan much less the "homeless." It really looks like some Homewood suites or equivalent rent by the week or month layout. But in terms of how the units are sited, I still see it inspired by 50's 60's urban motel design in terms of the views and plans laid out on the AIA page. My goodness you can even see the motel office embodied in the "community center." As I said above, all it's missing is a second story of units. Still all in all it is an impressive bit of student design once one ignores the impractical roof line.

Michael said...

The thing I like most is the way the architects have insured that water will pool on the roof over what I gather is the living, or great, room. Great sense of humor in that. And patience.

Rusty said...

Michael K said...
" Most homeless are the product of bad decisions, typically fueled by drug addiction, mental illness, or both."

"Most are off their meds and will not take them. Houses have nothing to do with it."


Yes, but it makes the proggs feel righteous. And isn't that what the left is all about?
86 the porch and add another story. It's not like there isn't enough wood.

Rusty said...

The funny part is the homeless could care less about the ascetics of what they live in. They live in cardboard boxes fer chrisakes.
How far is it from the tiny house to the McDonalds where they panhandle? Is it a commute? Do they have a bus pass?
I'm assuming there's no provision for parking in the tiny house neighborhood.
There's a TV sitcom in this somewhere.