February 20, 2018

Radian/Placematters Designs Micro-Housing Village for Denver’s Homeless

For Denver’s homeless, Radian/Placematters worked for a reduced fee to design a temporary village. Photography by JC Buck.

Not everyone who’s homeless has the option of going to a shelter. Couples, the transgender, and those with pets and certain disabilities may face obstacles in the traditional system. So Denver’s Radian/Placematters came up with a solution in the form of tiny houses for temporary occupancy. For the first iteration, called Beloved Community Village, the design nonprofit’s executive director, architect Tim Reinen, worked with the housing nonprofit Colorado Village Collaborative to house 15 people in a cluster of 11 units occupying 1⁄3 acre. Each of the units has aluminum siding and roofing, a tidy pine porch, and a 100-square-foot interior with pine plywood paneling that residents are allowed to paint. A yurt contains the communal kitchen, while the restrooms and showers are in separate structures. Reinen even designed a mobile laundry truck.

The 1/3-acre site. Photography courtesy of Radian/Placematters.

Required by zoning regulations to be transportable without being on wheels, the units were attached to concrete foundations with angle brackets and carriage bolts. Once the six-month permit expired, the whole village was hoisted, via forklift, across an alley to the next site. An entirely new village is then coming to a historic district nearby, with units slated to house homeless women and transgender people.

Standing-seam aluminum facades and concrete foundations. Photography by JC Buck.
Its kitchen yurt. Photography by JC Buck.

> See more from the January 2018 issue of Interior Design

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