Small House

A house as affordable housing

The Small House responds to the tremendous need for affordable housing in low-density neighborhoods of North Omaha dominated by single-family homes. North Omaha neighborhoods have a vast number of available, inexpensive lots, many owned by the Omaha Municipal Land Bank, but the absence of affordable housing products and the high costs of construction means these lots remain vacant. The Small House responds to this opportunity by providing a prototype that fits very small, substandard lots and can also be aggregated on merged properties in a community land trust. The goal is to build a very inexpensive  house given the value proposition for the area. The project uses the agency that accrues to the building of a new structure to positively impact the surrounding area around the house. The prototype will be built on a substandard, 30’ wide lot, and if successful, will be expanded throughout the neighborhood. The Small House could also be adapted to serve as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) for existing homes on standard lots.

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Inspired by the plan of Mies Van Der Rohe’s Farnsworth House with its compact service core (an efficient merger of kitchen and bathroom utilities at the center of the home), the Small House prototype is is an extremely efficient home for one or two individuals (the demographic most in need of new housing products). A single parent or small family could adapt the loft-like open plan by adding a partition and two doors to create a 2-bedroom home within the 600 square foot plan. The prototype uses all standard, affordable construction materials and methods such as advanced framing techniques to both save costs and increase energy efficiency.

Floor Plan (from Construction Documents) showing optional 2-bedroom conversion in red

See FACT’s missing middle and “gentle density” explorations in the NEw Attainable House. Actual Architecture Co. promotes small scale, high density housing as part of a suite of solutions for the housing crisis that must also include large multi-family buildings. Purchase the NEw Attainable House book here.

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