Tiny Homes Competition Winners

We would like to share the results of the 2015 Tiny Home Community Ideas Competition. We received over 100 entries, each of which was reviewed carefully by the Activate14 program committee. A shortlist of 21 entries was presented to the Design Jurors on June 10, 2015.

We showed the winners boards at the Oak City Outreach Center, where homeless people gather for food and other services. They were overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness of the submissions. We've also used the designs to start discussions with our City Council members. They are eager to make this project a reality. 

Now, for the Winner and Merit Awards:


The Jury thought that this was an exciting and very professionally presented competition with some outstanding work addressing a very significant social and architectural challenge. Many of the entries drew a fine line between sophisticated and affordable. They Jury admired participants’ efforts to address the issues of transitional housing and applaud the efforts. They thought the timing for this competition was very appropriate for the City of Raleigh, where the demographics are moving towards higher-income families in the downtown area – thus the importance of this project as a means to accommodate people of other backgrounds.

The competition addressed the communities’ need for a concerted effort to address the issues of affordable and transitional housing. The results of this competition are an important step to inspire this process.

Many of the projects lacked a strong sense of a well-organized site plan with appropriate use of indoor and outdoor space. Some of the projects seemed too ambitious for a clientele of this nature. For example, some projects were four stories high. But we were all very impressed by the spirit of invention and goodwill exhibited in the competitor’s work.

The provision of storage cannot be over emphasized. Most people without a home have no secure place to keep their clothing, food, and valuables. Some of the projects provided adequate storage with each living unit, and we thought this would be greatly appreciated.

Efstratios Skopelitis, Maria Christoulia, Alexandros Valsamidis - Greece
This project had the best combination of site organization, appropriate construction methods, and thoughtfully organized residential dwellings.
The design was sensitive to the scale and context of its community and we thought it would enhance the neighborhood. The designers showed a strong sense of urban sensitivity to the needs of the individual and the community.
There was a lot of discussion about the stone gabion walls. Some jurors thought this would be an innovative way to develop client participation, others thought it was a poor choice because it didn’t lend to portability and was not flexible. ON the other hand, the gabion would give the dwellings a sense of place and permanence.
The floor plans of the units were very well done and made the best use of space for residents. Cross ventilation was good. Lofted sleeping areas were very useful, and we appreciated shading devices for the hot western sun.
The site plan organized the project into four smaller-scale communities of three units each. We thought this was a great idea because it organized the site in a effective way and made different combinations of residents possible in response to individual needs for community and privacy. It had a nice sense of scale along the street.   
We thought the project was very appropriate to its climate, especially with the adaptable western sunscreens. The project was well grounded and offered a sense of security to the people living there.
This was a project that would make a difference. 

Prefab Construction Merit Award
ID# 151 - David Fernandez Llompart – Spain
We thought this project had good site development with the strong diagonal organization.
Good links between each of the units and very good details for construction.
There was some concern that the units might be too much like a fishbowl and how this might be acceptable to the people living there.
We were impressed with the attention given to flat-pack construction, which is very applicable to a project of this nature. We thought that it had good aspects of constructability and mobility and thought that the community space could have been more effective had it been located at the street. 

209 Citizen Engagement Merit Award
Heather Ferrell, Hiroshi Kaneko, Shane Gibbons – United States
We thought this project had true grit in a good sense of relationship with the neighborhood. The concept is very workable and is not over-manipulated. We thought it was a great concept to engage with the residents. This will create a vibrant that sparks imagination and innovative thinking.
We liked the concept of having the residents build it themselves, but our experience shows that in reality it costs more to have coaches come in to teach how to build. Perhaps it would be more economical to get input from the residents but have the buildings constructed by professional builders.

Because there is a high turnover rate in the homeless community, it may be more difficult for the 2nd generation to learn from the first.
Congratulations again for thinking of ways to involve the residents in design and construction. 

214 Affordability Merit Award
Jeffrey Pinheiro, Derek Zero – United States
This was Dan Rockhill’s personal favorite. He thought it was simple, restrained, portable, well insulated with SIP, and had a very good site plan.
Another juror thought that it might seem too cubicle-like to seem attractive to the residents. There were a lot of questions about how to fold down a queen-sized bed without stepping outside of the unit. A queen-sized bed seemed unnecessary for one resident.
One advantage to having a very small unit would be to encourage residents to use outdoor communal space.
The site plan was not a strong point. A better site plan would have programmed the land as well as the living spaces. We also recommend that the community building be located on the street. 

231 Aesthetic Merit Award
Gonzalo Carbajo, Inanc Eray, Pinar Guvenc, Marco Mattia Cristofori – United States, Turkey, Italy
In many respects, this was the most architectural and formally organized project in the competition, and the units had great clarity. WE admired the provision of storage at the ground floor level, which the residents would appreciate.
The two story units increase cost and decreases accessibility., and we felt there was little relation to the neighborhood. However, the designers did a good job of incorporating storage, and the image of the building is very attractive.
The site plan of the buildings detracted from the project. It seemed to have little to do with the community and even how residents related to each other.  

269 Community Merit Award
Alber McDonald, Erika Jolleys, Will Pate, Corey Baughman, Brian Dautel, Ryan Cooper, Ryan Johnson – United States
We thought this scheme had a very livable sense of dwellings and relationship to the street. We were relieved to see a simple approach to organizing the buildings on the site. There were clear spaces for gardening and community gathering. The project responded well to sunlight and orientation.
We thought the units were small, but they did make good use of the landscape. We especially liked that this project was dedicated to the community garden.
On the other hand, what about people who don’t want to garden? There didn’t
seem to be other outdoor spaces for alternate uses. Some of us thought the project was a little motel-like, and we liked the porches. The biggest problem we found with the project was the unit plan since most of the unit space was given over to circulation.
This was a well-organized and thoughtfully presented project with an appealing site design that was simple and straightforward.