The Tiny Homes Competition is an international design competition launched in November 2015 which solicited speculative design proposals that would house Chicago’s youth experiencing homelessness in tiny homes. More than 250 submissions were received, and WKA’s “Tiny Town” submission received the 2nd Place Award.
Located in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville neighborhood, “Tiny Town” is an alternative solution to Chicago’s affordable housing shortage. Tiny Town, composed of (12) $60K “Tiny Town Houses,” provides homeless young adults with privacy in a shared community. Tiny Town provides a low cost, low maintenance, viable solution that can easily be replicated in other neighborhoods facing similar housing needs.
The two bands of six Tiny Town Houses sit shoulder to shoulder fronting Tiny Town’s social center, “The Square.” Bathed by south light and extending visually and literally into the “living room” of the staffed community center to the north, The Square is Tiny Town’s interactive center: greetings, conversations, communal food preparation, dinners, and campfires. Residents can engage within this space when the spirit moves or find refuge in their homes and complementary private gardens defined by a privet hedge. The Tiny Town House has two faces, postures: one big and public, one modest and private.
One acknowledges and celebrates community; the other a place of shelter, ownership, warmth, and introspection. Providing a permanent safe place for homeless young adults can empower and aid in improving the quality of life for residents, and positively impact the future of Chicago’s homeless community.