August 25, 2023

Jessie's House (199 Sq. Ft.)

Austin, TX // 199 Sq. Ft. // $20,000 (materials)

In the heart of Austin, Texas, a groundbreaking micro-home project has emerged to address the housing crisis faced by individuals emerging from chronic homelessness. Designed by Jobe Corral Architects for their client, Mobile Loaves & Fishes, this 199-square-foot micro home showcases an ingenious approach to maximizing space while promoting a sense of community and permanence. 

Efficiency and innovation were at the forefront of the design process. Jobe Corral Architects minimized the use of doors and walls, opting instead for varying ceiling heights and shapes to create distinct sections within the home. This design strategy not only maximizes square footage but also maintains an open and airy feel. A high ceiling in the living area allows ample natural light to flood the space, creating an expansive atmosphere. In contrast, a low, gabled ceiling in the bedroom provides a sense of privacy and a comfortable retreat.

The architects also incorporated elements that harmonize with nature. Compact windows strategically placed throughout the micro home allow daylight to brighten the interiors. The ceiling serves as a reflective surface, further enhancing the effect of natural light. By embracing passive design principles, Jobe Corral Architects successfully created a solid and secure environment that maximizes brightness while minimizing exposure to the outside.

The design of the micro home was driven by the social sensibilities of its client, Jesse Brown, who sought a dwelling that reflected his values and promoted community engagement. A front door with a view of the common paths was incorporated to allow Jesse to stay connected with the vibrant community surrounding him. The front porch was designed as a gathering space, encouraging socialization and the building of relationships with neighbors. These intentional design elements foster a sense of belonging and create a true sense of community within the micro-home project.

Despite its compact size, the micro home was built with affordability and replicability in mind. With a modest materials budget of $20,000, Jobe Corral Architects delivered a simple and efficient design that meets Jesse's needs while remaining cost-effective. The omission of a kitchen and bathroom ensures affordability without compromising functionality. This approach paves the way for potential replication of the design throughout the site, providing more individuals with secure and permanent dwellings.

Jobe Corral Architects have pushed the boundaries of micro home design with their innovative approach in Austin's Community First! Village. Through strategic design elements such as varying ceiling heights, reflective surfaces, and client-centered features, they have created a comfortable and harmonious living environment for Jesse Brown and others facing similar circumstances. This micro-home project serves as an inspiration, showcasing how creativity and compassion can come together to address housing challenges and create transformative solutions.

Images © Leonid Furmansky

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