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AIA Austin DesignVoice and Community First! Village are excited to announce Tiny Victories 2.0!

In 2014, we hosted Tiny Victories: a design competition with the goal of creating affordable, efficient microhomes for Community First! Village, a master-planned community just outside of Austin that provides permanent supportive housing for Central Texas’s chronically homeless population. The architect-designed microhomes produced through this competition not only met a functional need, but also added variety, richness, and dignity to the Village. In addition to 135 microhomes, the site contains 100 RVs, 5 community kitchens, 5 community restrooms, a library, a chapel, gardens and livestock, an outdoor cinema, market, woodshop and forge, a hair studio, and other community gathering spaces. In 2019, CFV plans to open Phase 2, which will contain 200 more microhomes, in addition to other community amenities.

As Phase 1 of Community First Village neared capacity in 2018, DesignVoice conducted a post-occupancy evaluation of the built environment to see how well the homes produced by Tiny Victories were serving its residents. The evaluation included more than 30 hours of resident interviews and staff focus groups, and produced valuable insights that CFV hopes to incorporate into future growth.

As CFV expands to Phase 2, DesignVoice is teaming up with CFV once again to create Tiny Victories 2.0, beginning with this Call for Architects. While the original Tiny Victories was a competition with the intention of producing many design proposals, TV 2.0 is a call to identify design teams to engage in a participatory design process with resident-clients, as well as incorporate data from DesignVoice’s post-occupancy evaluation, ultimately resulting in new microhome designs to populate Phase 2. Selected design teams will be paired with a Seed Neighbor, a current CFV resident that has applied and been selected to move from Phase 1 to Phase 2 to welcome new neighbors and build community. Through a series of design charrettes, the design teams will be asked to engage their clients through all phases of design. Our hope is that in addition to adding to the variety and richness of home designs at Community First! Village, this process will also encourage neighbors to become more engaged in the creation of their own community.

We invite architects from Central Texas to apply to partner with us in this vision. Read on to learn more about the process.

Please visit to find out more about Community First! Village.

project brief

For Tiny Victories 2.0, we are looking for committed design teams to work closely with Community First! Village and its residents to provide pro-bono services to develop a microhome through all phases of design and construction.

At Community First! Village, we define microhomes as:

  • Site-built

  • Maximum 200 sf interior living space for a single occupant

  • Includes air conditioning

  • Does not include plumbing

  • Includes covered exterior porch

project goals

  • Engage and respond to the voices of current and future Community First! Village residents in Phase 2 home design process.

  • Increase home design variety at Community First! Village.

  • Increase number of microhomes at Community First! Village.

  • Respond to direct design feedback collected from DesignVoice’s 2018 post-occupancy study of Community First! Village.

  • Increase opportunities for face-to-face interaction and ongoing relationships between designers and Community First! Village residents.

  • Offer Seed Neighbors the unique opportunity of actively participating in the custom design of his or her new home.

  • Create a vehicle for CFV neighbors to become more engaged in the creation of their own community.

site description

Community First! Village is located 9 miles east of downtown Austin, TX:


Microhome designs created through the Tiny Victories 2.0 participatory design process will be located in Phase 2 of Community First Village:

CommunityFirst_Site Plan.jpg

Each design team will be given multiple microhome sites within Phase 2, and asked to create a single microhome design that may be built multiple times. We will make every effort to provide a group of sites with similar size constraints and orientation, but designs may need to accommodate some minor variations between sites.

builder partners

The Tiny Victories 2.0 design process is intended to be collaborative and inclusive, drawing expertise not only from Community First! Village residents and staff, but also builders who can help ensure designs are practical, affordable, durable, and beautiful. To this end, all architects will be required to work with a builder partner who will give input throughout the design process and be responsible for building the first prototype of their microhome design. This prototype will be occupied by a resident engaged in the design process through the Community First! Village Seed Neighbor program.

Architects and builders will be selected by a panel of representatives from AIA Austin DesignVoice and Community First! Village, including current residents.

Here’s what an ideal application might include (not all of these are requirements):

  • Builder partner identified, and committed to the project if the team is selected

  • Past experience / exposure to participatory design methods

  • Past experience serving vulnerable populations

  • Residential design experience

Applications will be evaluated based on design approach, commitment to the participatory design process, relevant past experience, and overall alignment with the mission and vision of Community First! Village. Preference will be given to teams that submit applications with an identified builder partner.

Selected teams will be notified by December 14, 2018. Teams will also be announced via the Tiny Victories and AIA Austin websites, as well as AIA DesignVoice social media.

selection process & criteria

  • Applicants must live in Central Texas (see FAQ for more info).

  • Applicants must have at least one licensed architect on their design team.

  • Applicants must be willing to sign an AIA Owner-Architect Agreement for Pro Bono Services (B106), and must have adequate professional liability insurance coverage.

  • Applicants must attend the overnight kickoff retreat at Community First! Village, and commit to staying on schedule throughout the design and construction process. See Project Timeline for info.

eligibility requirements

Each architectural team is responsible for design and full signed and sealed construction documents for one microhome (up to 200 square feet plus porch, not including a kitchen or bathroom). The microhome design may be built multiple times at Community First! Village, so designers should plan to incorporate options that will accommodate different site conditions, resident choices (if applicable), etc. Due to the collaborative design/build nature of this project, construction documents may be somewhat lean as long as they contain all of the necessary information builders will need.

Additionally, architectural teams must commit to being present for the full kickoff retreat and all design charrettes. See Participant Expectations below for more information.

Each builder is responsible for building one microhome, contributing labor pro bono and using materials provided by Community First! Village / McCoy’s Building Supply. If interested, builders may build multiple microhomes. Builders must commit to being present for a portion of the kickoff retreat, as well as all design charrettes beginning with Design Development.

project scope

participant expectations

  1. The architectural team & builders act in service to Community First! Village and its residents. While we expect beautiful and innovative designs, they will only be successful if the architectural team takes full advantage of opportunities to learn from post-occupancy findings, as well as active feedback from the residents and CFV staff themselves. Architects are expected to prioritize resident feedback and all opportunities for engagement.

  2. The architectural team must be present at the kick-off event and at all charrettes. Charrettes will occur at each design phase milestone (SD, DD, CD) and will present designers critical opportunities for feedback from staff and residents. Charrettes will typically occupy half a work day on Fridays. Attendance at these participatory design events is mandatory for the design team. Designers won’t need to organize additional opportunities for engagement, unless they simply choose to do so.

  3. Builders must be present at the kick-off event, as well as the DD and CD charrettes.

  4. Architectural teams & builders are expected to contribute pro-bono hours of work in order to stay on schedule. We encourage teams to track these hours for future reporting, both personal and for the whole Tiny Victories 2.0 process.

  5. Creating a home for someone who has experienced homelessness presents unique challenges and opportunities. Consider reading up on the subject! Alan Graham’s book Welcome Homeless provides a glimpse into his vision and lessons learned from a lifetime of service to this population. He also recommends Beyond Homelessness as a way of grasping some of the fundamental characteristics of home, which your design should provide. If you prefer a podcast, try Alan Graham’s Gospel Con Carne!


  • Nov. 30, 2018: Architect/Builder Applications Due

  • Dec. 14, 2018: Notification of Selected Teams

  • Jan. 25-26, 2019: Kickoff Retreat (overnight at Community First! Village)

  • Feb. 2019: SD Design Charrette

  • Mar. 2019: DD Design Charrette

  • Apr. 2019: CD Design Charrette

  • May 2019: Revised CDs Due

  • June 2019: Begin Construction


Microhome designs must be economical, practical, durable, and easy to build with materials available through McCoy’s Building Supply. Community First! Village will commit to fundraising for all homes that meet these criteria. Additional materials budget information will be discussed during the design process.

Labor is not considered as part of the project budget, as all labor will be provided pro bono by participating designers and builders.

Each architectural team will be given a $500 honorarium to offset project expenses (gas, printing, etc.).

Design/build teams may propose designs that exceed the recommended budget or use additional materials not available through McCoy’s if they commit to fundraising and/or soliciting donations for those portions of the design.


Please see the FAQ page.

Applications will be accepted until midnight on Friday, November 30, 2018.