Austin-based Mckinney York Architects has completed its second micro-house for the Community First! Village, a program by Mobile Loaves & Fishes to uplift people experiencing chronic homelessness in Austin with affordable, sustainable tiny homes. As with the firm’s first project for the community, Mckinney York Architects teamed up with Bailey Eliot Construction to design, underwrite and build a permanent new home for a Community First! resident.

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Located 20 minutes east of downtown Austin, the two-phased Community First! Village is a transformative residential program with 51 acres of affordable, permanent housing and community for residents who were formerly homeless. The first phase of the program kicked off with Tiny Victories 1.0, a 2014 design competition hosted by AIA Austin and Mobile Loaves & Fishes that invited firms to design minimalist and sustainable one-person shelters no larger than 200 square feet. In fall 2018, the program moved forward with Phase II by adding 24 more acres of development for a total of over 500 tiny homes along with new amenities such as community gardens, outdoor kitchens and a welcome center.

Related: Community First! provides affordable, permanent micro-housing

gray tiny home with screened-in front porch
wood-lined interior with orange front door and wood kitchen cabinets

Building on its experience with Phase 1 Tiny Victories, Mckinney York Architects began the Tiny Victories 2.0 project by speaking with current and future Community First! Village residents to determine design needs. The firm was assigned to design a custom tiny home for a “Seed Neighbor,” a woman who lived in Phase 1 of the development and would be “transplanted” to Phase II.

large bed in wood-lined room
fence and windmill in foreground with row of tiny homes in the distance

In working closely with the client, the architects crafted a home that respected her desires for privacy without compromising a sense of community. For example, instead of large windows, the architects installed a screened porch in the front corner of the home that can be opened up to the neighborhood or closed off when more solitude is desired. The tiny house is topped with a butterfly roof that harvests rainwater for irrigating the garden, and the cozy interior is lined with knotty pine paneling.

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Photography by Leonid Fermansky via Mckinney York Architects