B.L.I.S.S. Tiny Homes
Cristina Gallo, AIA; Marty Sandberg, AIA
B.L.I.S.S. Tiny Homes explores the growing trend of micro-structures serving as family housing.
"B.L.I.S.S. Tiny Homes" focuses on a single-story, low-cost, modular design that can form either a 1-bedroom "single" unit or a 3-bedroom "double" unit. The City of Chicago recently issued a public Request for Information (RFI), with the goal of constructing new affordable housing using this housing type and gathering information to assess the viability of tiny homes under current zoning rules. Partnered with a local property developer and a neighborhood-based social services provider, Via Chicago found that with only minimal relief under the existing code, affordable "tiny homes" really can be constructed on existing multi-family zoned lots. These dwelling units will be arranged side-by-side in a townhouse fashion - key to working with the current regulations, rather than scattered individual homes - with the overall dimensions of the unit derived from multiples of a 25' x 125' "standard Chicago lot". An abundance of city-owned lots makes this an intriguing concept as it could be quickly replicated and adjusted around Chicago. Constructing 6 tiny house units on a double-lot results in the same density as a more traditional "6-flat", but at a fraction of the cost to build.
The partially prefabricated units can be quickly converted between these 1- and 3-bedroom units without compromising the underlying design, allowing for easy adaptation to changing market demands. This also allows for their use by two key population groups when it comes to affordable housing - families and seniors. A 3-bedroom unit could comfortably house a family of 5, while the single unit has no accessibility concerns for an elderly resident with limited mobility - no bed lofts or micro-sized bathrooms to be found here.