November 6, 2019 Micro House Design Chosen for Chicago Architecture Biennial

one of the student groups' micro houses, the plus pod for future UT dorm residents
A group of our recent Architecture graduates’ design for a micro house has been chosen to be displayed at the Chicago Architecture Biennial, a great honor for these new alumni and our college.

The Chicago Architecture Biennial is a bi-annual exhibition of work from around the globe to cultivate conversation about architecture and the built environment through unique exhibits and public programs. Through the program, the Biennial deepens global and local understanding of the built environment while exploring the future of architecture that is “shared, inclusive, diverse, sustainable and equitable,” according to the Biennial’s website.

Alumni Brooke Cunningham (M.Arch ‘19) and Katie Hitchcock (B.Arch ‘19) will present their team’s designs for the chosen micro housing unit, the PLUS Pod, as part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial Pin-up Program on Nov. 21 to 25. Their trip is sponsored by the college’s Institute for Smart Structures.

The PLUS Pod was designed and built during spring 2019 in Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architecture James Rose’s capstone studio, Microhousing: An Architecture of Optimized Minimums, by then fifth-year students, Cunningham, Hitchcock, Hannah deVente, Lycan Hayes, Vivek Prassad and Bryan Sim. 

A micro housing unit, like the PLUS Pod, is a structure designed to minimize livable space while maintaining the typical definition of a house and designed and built to be used in groups, embracing a sense of community. The unit is intended to model future student housing on UT’s campus.

Hitchcock and Cunningham will exhibit their studio teams’ approach to designing and building the PLUS Pod. The full-scale micro housing prototype is a modular unit that was entirely digitally manufactured at the college’s Fab Lab and can be transported fully assembled in the bed of a standard pickup truck. Each PLUS Pod contains private sleeping, working and storage space for one person and can be stacked with other living, bathing and cooking units to create a compact net-zero community. Proposals like the PLUS Pod are intended to grapple with the needs of first responders, students, laborers or other underhoused individuals in situations of environmental or economic crisis.

As participants in this year’s Biennial, we’re recognized as a leading ideation force in architecture and will gain global recognition for our explorative projects, such as our design/build micro housing project.

Since the Biennial’s conception in 2015, it has been bringing together industry leaders in architecture and urbanism to advance the field of architecture and design. This year is no exception as it prepares to welcome practitioners, academics, analysts and more to delve into innovative architectural ideas.

Read more about the micro housing studio and the prototypes designed and built in our Fab Lab.