Zoning laws are the bane of many an architect's existence. While they mean well, more often than not their outdated, archaic ordinances prevent neighborhoods from developing and growing with the rest of the world. Take Raleigh, North Carolina. This historic -- and hip! -- Southern town is teeming with recent graduates and young professionals who cannot afford homes required to be a certain minimum size. Architect David Hill and design firm In Situ want to build small prefab homes in the alleys of Raleigh's oversized houses that are flexible, affordable, and of course, beautifully designed. These houses will not only provide affordable housing for a big part of the city's population; they'll also generate new income and encourage a more pedestrian-family downtown. Sounds like the a perfect example of an “Architecure + Living Small” A+ contender.
The proposed "RA-50" residential zone, or "Alley Residential," would divide the large lot alleys into single- and double-occupancy homes that would benefit creative entrepreneurs, interns, retired teachers, laid-off middle-age managers, and single moms (to name a few!). They'll also prove a boon to land owners, who will receive a small income for renting out their alley.
The prototype costs about $30,000, with 100 square-foot kit pieces owners can choose to add like a bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, patio, stoops, and dens. While the plan did receive an honorable mention from Building Trust International's jury this week, In Situ still faces an uphill battle with city planners and those pesky zoners.
Photos: courtesy of In Situ Studio + David Hill