Date: May 15, 2021
Time: 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

See how an innovative, sustainably built village of tiny homes will offer a safe space for homeless families at a free open house at Monarch Village.

The open house will be held from 12 – 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 15 at the Lawrence Community Shelter, 3655 E. 25th St., Lawrence, KS.

Dan Rockhill, founder of the University of Kansas Architecture Studio 804 program, and his graduate students, built the homes using 12 recycled shipping containers. The Monarch Village project will provide families with a 160-square-foot, private living space to help stabilize them until they can move out of the shelter and into permanent housing.

Monarch Village was designed as a solution to several community problems. Initially, it offers a safe, less dense space for people to isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also allow those who contract the virus to recuperate without compromising the health of others in the shelter. Additionally, it will be used as a temporary housing space for families, specifically single mothers with children.

“On our journey towards identifying the right solutions for our guests during the COVID-19 pandemic, what remains clear is what we’ve known all along: homelessness is a public health crisis,” says Renee Kuhl, LCS executive director. “Shelter and housing are basic needs and important prerequisites for good physical and mental health for all.”

Each tiny home is paired and anchored on the east and south sides surrounding the existing community vegetable garden and new monarch butterfly trails. The interiors are designed to be ADA accessible and include space for four people with two private sleeping areas, a bunk bed and a pull-out sleeper couch, a full bathroom and small kitchenette.

The Monarch Village community was designed with many energy-efficient and sustainable features.

  • Re-purposed materials are used throughout the units.
  • Passive-energy strategies help supply ventilation and natural heating.
  • A wire-screening system for native plants and vines provides shade for the container and acts as a unique, exterior-feature wall.
  • A southwest facing louver system brings in natural light, heat in the winter and shade in the summer.
  • Three solar panels on each roof will provide a majority of the energy needs.

A new 900-square-foot, open-sided commons shelter just north of the garden and a covered concrete pad between each of the units will create gathering spaces for those at the shelter.

Since 1995, KU graduate students in the Studio 804 program have designed and built sustainable, net-zero energy homes and structures as an advanced class project. This year’s student project is different than most. Instead of building one residential home for sale, Rockhill and his students built the 12 tiny homes to donate to the shelter.

Studio 804 is a not-for-profit program that designs and builds sustainable, affordable and creative buildings, including many single-family homes. Students provide the building designs, zoning applications, site layout, framing, roofing, siding, solar panel installation and landscape design. Almost all of their projects have received Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification and several have been Passive House US (PHIUS) certified. The Monarch Village homes are in the process of applying for LEED certification.

To learn more about the KU program, visit Studio 804.

Photo: Studio 804

Location: Lawrence Community Shelter
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