Weiss Architecture Studio

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2021 AIA Utah “Tiny Home” Competition

Tiny Home Runner-up: Plug and Play – Led by ajc architects’ John McLaughlin, and supported by Connor Stephens and Steve Simmons.

Affordable housing is difficult to find within Salt Lake City’s existing neighborhoods. Current housing stock is expensive, underdeveloped in terms of density, and mostly inaccessible to those with common physical disabilities. Addressing these housing deficiencies will require new approaches and disrupt traditional ideas of housing and community. This specific approach looks not to peoples’ backyards and development within existing residential blocks, but to common commercial property typologies that can be found across the valley.  Large surface parking lots represent underutilized land that can be adapted to help address the ever-growing scarcity of developable land within existing communities. Big box stores, supermarkets, shopping malls and plazas are all commonly surrounded by seas of surface parking. Parking lots are often largely vacant and are problematic in terms of contributing to the urban fabric and culture of an area. By creating a strategy to activate and enliven some portion of these existing parking lots, a new mixed-use development pattern begins to take shape.  The Plug and Play strategy to occupy existing parking lots relies on implementation of infrastructure, incremental development based on a standard 8’-3”x 18’-0” parking space, and neighborhood building to create a new model for a new urbanist mixed-use development model.