NBRS Designs Tiny Homes – Adaptable Units for Tiny Homes Foundation
NBRSARCHITECTURE has partnered with the Tiny Homes Foundation (THF) to design an develop single-occupancy affordable housing units for the homeless. The project seeks to identify parcels of council owned land that are underutilised or vacant, generally because they are unsuitable for conventional purposes. It is considered to be ‘Australia’s first approved tiny home project’.
Tiny Homes has proposed a collaborative service model made up of four to six small houses in conjunction with meeting facilities, communal spaces with amenities and welfare and education services. THF required a housing design that could be prefabricated and be transportable to site (without exceeding statutory oversize load limits) or alternately be flat packed and assembled DIY without specialist skills or equipment.
NBRS has created the concept for the Tiny Homes Foundation, which includes groups of four houses in proximity to one another sharing a common lounge, common laundry/workshop and communal green space to gather.
The homes include a full bathroom and kitchen, and can be built for less than $30,000. The use of insulated panels facilitates easy assembly and is self-supporting, avoiding the need of a structural frame. (It is envisaged that the construction of the housing units shall also be performed by students in work skill development programs.)
Each 14sq.m home has been designed with ESD principles in mind. Working with the environment to provide thermal comfort, minimising a need for artificial heating and cooling, and installing appliances with low energy consumption. Rainwater is harvested, and the toilet is compostable making these units feasible on un-serviced sites.
The greatest challenge has been the approval process. As this project does not fall within conventional planning typology, the planners and local government have struggled to determine an appropriate classification for assessment. The successful DA approval of the first site in Gosford is a milestone and is proof of concept in planning terms.