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A student at work in Tom Barrie's public interest design studio.

Micro Houses Have Macro Impact

A unique project by NC State School of Architecture students tackles veteran homelessness.

Micro houses may have inspired a new generation of homeowners to scale (way) down – spawning popular TV shows in the process – but they’re more than just a design trend. They have the potential to alleviate veteran homelessness in North Carolina.

And a class of NC State architecture students, under the leadership of architecture professor Tom Barrie, is helping lead the way.

“There is a concerning number of homeless veterans nationally and in our state,” Barrie says. “Last year the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness approached us to contract with them on a project to build permanent micro house communities for homeless veterans. They were interested in real solutions on actual sites.”

This concept of service learning is fundamental to many of Barrie’s studio classes, offered through the School of Architecture’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Initiative, which is part of the school’s Public Interest Design Studios program. The initiative aims to provide educational resources and innovative solutions to the housing and urban challenges that North Carolina communities face.

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Originally published Jan. 30, 2019.



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