‍‍‍A community housing project focused on
individualized spaces
Austin Community Housing

Answering the fast growing city

This studio will take on the challenge of the medium-density urban housing type, located between the apartment block and the detached house in scale and density (approximately 30-80 units/hectare). Critically assessing existing typologies, we will ask the question how the comforts of the individual house (such as a sense of ownership, ground floor access, private outdoors space, individual parking, and family-friendly spaces) can be reconfigured to form new types of residential urban fabric beyond the formulaic denominator of “mixed use”. With this ambition, the project is intended to be site specific as much as it is prototypical. One point of focus will be on the careful calibration of spatial gradients – from private to public, from individual collective, and the project’s formal nature between part and whole. On the other hand, the nature of the integrative design studio will allow for the testing of the implications of materials systems and construction techniques as factors that have long had an important economic and ecological impact on residential construction. The program will be for a group of 10-20 residential units, ranging from 1-5 bedrooms and approximately 1,200 – 2,200 sf in size. All units must have private (ground floor) access and parking, as well as one or more private outdoor spaces (roof terraces, patios, gardens, courtyards). The units should be designed to enable an attractive model of family-friendly urban living. They are explicitly not to be understood as ‘low-cost’ or ‘low- income’ housing, but rather a viable alternative to the individual house in the ring of densifying central neighborhoods in Austin. 


Relating a community site to residents

This project consisted of extensive audits over five existing client properties. Following the framework of atomic design, we documented and evaluated the atoms, templates and molecules that made up each property.

The Site

Creating a Non-Intrusive Development: Community, Massing, MaterialsAustin is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. With a mass influx of people, rents have become high, housing is slim and empty lots are being snatched up. Many neighborhoods are becoming "trendy" because of their amenities, proximity, and culture. Because of this, owner property taxes have increased and original inhabitants are slowly being pushed further and further our of their neighborhoods - and Austin all together. Knowing the demographic is key for the success of a community development. By using similar materials, rooflines, and creating public amenities the neighborhood fabric can be preserved. This can possibly create a stronger community, both financially and culturally. 

The Personas

As a result of the individual focus of the neighborhood, it is important to consider individuals before meeting the criteria of housing units. Time was spent interviewing members of the surrounding community and observing the area to completely understand what personas would inhabit the project. 

Each persona represented signifies units that will be created in the overall project. These personas are derived from the surrounding area, interviews, GIS information, and observations of the neighborhood. These personas come with their own unit characteristics that change according to an ordered parameter. Each of the personas come a designated amount of space, rooms, type of outdoor space, parking, and special feature which is suitable for their lifestyles. 

Creating a massing Fit for this Neighborhood

A characteristic of this East Austin neighborhood is the subconscious rhythm created by massings of single family houses set in a somewhat standardized lot size. If lines are projected from the edges of these massings, the result is a strong A-B pattern of mass and void that is important to uphold for the character of the neighborhood. Once this pattern was projected onto the site, it was standardized in a series of grid lines 10 feet and 40 feet across the East-West axis of the site.


Moves to create massing

Who is going to live here

Designing a space around a persona.

An up close of a unit.

Take a look at the Go-Getter and its amenities.


Understand and explore an architectural project on your own.

Creating an Interactive Experience

What happens during an architectural review? In the typical architectural review, a room full of people listen to designers present their concepts, drawings, physical models, and graphic presentations. Traditionally, these materials are printed and digital. Materials are at the front of the room and it becomes a lecture experience. The key to a great architectural presentation is having a project speak for itself- so how can we present a project and let the observers take the reigns?

A closer look

Architecture to UI/UX: Carrying out the focus on Personas A large part of this project was research and understanding the 'individual' or 'persona'. The next thought was, "How can we carry that thesis though to the presentation experience?" I wanted to allow critics and students to fully immerse themselves in a project-To tell a story from concept to design, but allow people to explore on their own. Every person has individual interests, just as we discovered in this project research.