Salt Lake City, in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects Utah Chapter (AIA Utah) and the Community Development Corporation of Utah (CDCU), hosted the Empowered Living Design Competition for tiny homes and small dwelling units (ADUs). Submissions were judged on five key criteria: affordability, accessibility, sustainability, durability, and livability. Participants were invited to submit a tiny home design for a standalone home or cluster of small cottages in a planned development, or an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) on a lot with a primary residence. Blalock and Partners submitted BIG ME under the tiny home category and WHITE LIMO under the ADU category.
The WHITE LIMO design proposal places two tiny homes on an underutilized site in an area which is increasingly unaffordable. Located at 915 South 400 East, the site is approximately 4,462 square feet; just under the required minimum 5,000 square feet for the zoned R/1-5,000 district. The “formal” proposed submission, WHITE LIMO, focuses on the front tiny home facing 400 East, while the rear home replaces an existing, vacant cottage.
The two unit approach seeks to maximize the buildable footprint and provide TWO for-sale housing options for the owner, an opportunity that is increasingly rare in all of Salt Lake City. The strategy for this project allows the owner to consider multiple approaches:
- The owner could construct (or purchase) both tiny homes, occupying the front one and renting the second for supplemental income, or;
- Focus only on the front home with the option of selling it or renting it once their life circumstances require a lifestyle change.
WHITE LIMO consists of durable, low-maintenance interior & exterior materials, which are designed to increase the longevity of the home. Interior construction materials include a simple palette of white-painted gypsum board, wood cabinetry and polished concrete floors. Kitchen and bathroom counters are anti-microbial quartz.
One of the key sustainable aspects of WHITE LIMO is in its achievement of Net Zero Energy. A small (three panel) photo-voltaic array on the roof of each residence provides 100% of the year-round energy needs, including a shared electric vehicle charging station for two vehicles (on adjacent site). The PV array provides power to electric cooking, heating and cooling appliances and there is no need for a natural gas connection. The project also incorporates a high-performance building envelope designed to reduce air infiltration and energy loss, and incorporates a number of passive strategies as well. Ultimately, the project’s sustainability objectives are equally about providing a more responsible approach to the built environment, as well as offering a dramatic reduction in utility expenses for the homeowner.
The idea of “livability” considers all of the previous criteria: affordability, durability / longevity, sustainability and accessibility. At its core, WHITE LIMO is meant to support a higher quality of life, regardless of its small footprint. The project is appealing as a starter home, a home for retirees, a single (unmarried) person, or a young professional(s). Depending upon desired lifestyle, the home has the potential of a single owner/occupant for multiple decades. Alternatively, with quality design and construction, and a desirable location, WHITE LIMO offers longevity for multiple owners / residents over the life of the building. The sustainability, affordability and quality of design components all endeavor to craft a unique solution which speaks to a greater quality of life, affording the homeowner with its own sense of place within the broader community.
2022 Merit Award, Urban Design Utah
2021 People’s Choice Award – ADU Category, Empowered Living Design Competition