June 26, 2013 UT Students Explore Micro-Housing in Nashville, Open House at NCDC

NASHVILLE–Nashville Civic Design Center (NCDC) will host an open house reception on July 2, 2013, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. to showcase the work of students participating in The University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design’s Nashville Urban Design Summer Studio. The student-designed concepts for micro-housing units in Nashville’s downtown urban core will be on display during the reception, with students available to discuss the projects. The NCDC is located at 138 Second Avenue North, Suite 106, in the Butler’s Run building.

The Urban Design Summer Studio, which is in its third year, explored the potential of micro-housing as an emerging urban architecture, on an array of sites throughout Downtown. Teams of students worked together to determine a design program to reflect the potential of each site. They were required to design 350 s.f. – 400 s.f. micro-housing units, comprising at least 75% of the total units in the building. Additional units could be proposed to diversify the tenant mix and the external appearance of the building.

To counterbalance the small size of the units, an emphasis was placed on designing appropriate shared social and recreational amenity spaces, and common circulation spaces. The ground level (and potentially upper levels of the building or block) could be commercial tenants carefully specified as locally owned enterprises. In addition, the students named the building or block as an exercise in branding.

“With strong demand for various types of downtown housing, affordability is the key to expanding options.  Micro-housing offers an appealing alternative to the types of housing currently available downtown,” said Tamara Dickson, Vice President of Economic Development for the Nashville Downtown Partnership (NDP). NDP has partnered with NCDC to support the study.

A report and exhibition of the work will be released later this year.

“The motivation for promoting this dwelling type in downtown urban cores is that it potentially doubles the density of the building relative to more conventional downtown housing, and by reducing unit size, both construction and development costs are reduced per unit.

“This category of housing meets the ‘real simple’ lifestyle of many GenY entry-level professionals, who haven’t yet accumulated many possessions and desire urban living for its entertainment and lifestyle potential, proximity to the workplace, and perhaps the extra disposable income resulting from a lack of car dependence, or even ownership. ‘Empty-nester boomers’ or seniors are other potential markets for this housing product,” said TK Davis, UT faculty member and director of the summer program.

The mission of the Nashville Civic Design Center is to elevate the quality of the Nashville’s built environment and to promote public participation in the creation of a more functional and beautiful city for all. For more information on the Nashville Civic Design Center visit

The Nashville Downtown Partnership is a private sector nonprofit corporation whose core purpose is “to make Downtown Nashville the compelling urban center in the Southeast in which to LIVE, WORK, PLAY and INVEST.”


S O U R C E:

Gary Gaston

615. 248. 4280


R E L A T E D:

Micro-housing has re-surged as a major topic of urban design, planning and development. In recent news:

Micro-apartments: The anti-McMansions,” CNNMoney (21 Jun 2013)

Micro apartments in Los Angeles: ‘How Small is Too Small?,'” Los Angeles Times (13 Jun 2013)

Denver Microhousing Competition Attracts Global Interest,” Architectural Record (3 Jun 2013)

Now Americans Are Going Crazy About Tiny ‘Micro’ Apartments,” Business Insider (3 Jun 2013)