Researchers from the University of Waterloo School of Architecture (Adrian Blackwell, Associate Professor and John McMinn, Professor) and School of Planning (Martine August, Assistant Professor) are currently undertaking a research project, Assessing the viability of tiny homes to address housing insecurity in the Region of Waterloo, as a first phase in their Tiny Home research project. The first phase of this research is funded by the MITACS Accelerate Program in partnership with local firms Isherwood Geostructural Engineers and Z-Modular. These funds are supporting four interns - Marco Chow, Nupur Garg, Poorna Patange (MArch graduates) and Barbara Chrysler (a PhD School of Planning student), who will study best practices around location, governance, site planning, and fabrication of tiny homes in the Region of Waterloo, with a particular focus in the City of Cambridge. Phase One research is due to be completed by August 2021.
The City of Cambridge recently announced a $15,000 funding boost to extend this research initiative, from case study research (Phase One), to testing and prototyping (Phase Two), in which two or more tiny homes dwellings are built, site installed, and occupied, to test the building assembly, occupancy experience and site plan strategy.
Adrian Blackwell and John McMinn will be co-teaching a fall term design build studio, where students will be designing and constructing one or two tiny homes, as prototype tests for an eventually planned small tiny homes community of up to 20 tiny homes, to serve as a transitional solution for housing insecure people in Cambridge.
A third phase of this research is anticipated, involving a post-occupancy evaluation of the prototype dwellings, leading to refinement of building assemblies, site strategies, governance and management arrangements for the creation one or more tiny home communities of multiple tiny homes dwellings.