Community First! Village in Austin, a 51-acre sustainable development, provides affordable housing to Central Texas’ chronically homeless. McKinney York Architects recently designed two new micro-house concepts inside the community. These tiny homes are changing lives by providing homes for hundreds of locals who have fallen on hard times.

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three people surround a house being built

The program, developed by Austin-based non-profit Mobile Loaves & Fishes, consists of 120 total units. The organization is a social outreach ministry that has worked with the local Austin homeless community since 1998 through prepared feeding programs, community gardening and more.

Related: Modular, affordable housing project opens in Portland

a micro-house with a roof slanted down to the left. the home's facade is white with wood accents.

McKinney York Architects founder Heather McKinney and her team chose to design two pro-bono micro-houses inside the community. These homes showcase the firm’s creativity and attention to detail while contributing to a sustainable cause.

a small house with a wood frame comprised of various box frames

“Being a good neighbor to our local community is an important part of our office culture,” said Aaron Taylor, project manager for the first micro-home. “This, coupled with the firm’s mission to provide quality design for everyone, really made working at CommunityFirst! Village a fulfilling experience.”

two images: to the left, an open door leads to a sitting area inside a home with walls made of wood and glass. to the right, two people on ladders painting a wall blue.

This first tiny home features what McKinney York Architects’ website describes as “humble modular materials” that “lend dignity to the dwelling through a straightforward, logical aesthetic expression.” The home also includes a screen porch positioned to take advantage of summer breezes while providing shelter from winter winds. Openings encourage cross-ventilation, and a double roof creates shaded heat gain reduction during the warmer months.

a sitting area inside a home with walls made of wood and glass. inside, there is a small round table with two chairs.

“We try to find opportunities for great design, despite the inevitable constraints, whether it’s the size and orientation of an existing concrete slab or the available construction budget,” said Navvab Taylor, leader of the second home design team. The second home includes a butterfly roof to catch breezes and collect rainwater for the garden. Pine paneling accents the interior, and a screened porch keeps mosquitoes away while creating an open public space for socializing.

+ McKinney York

Images © Thomas McConnell