The White Earth Homes IV (WEIV) project was highlighted last week by Minnesota Public Radio (MPR). To read the article or listen to the commentary click here.
Congratulations again to the White Earth Reservation Housing Authority (WERHA) for completing such a great project.
The WEIV project is one that is near and dear to our design team’s heart. I’d like to take this opportunity to share a few more details (and photos) about the project and our approach to the design of these units.
We began the design phase of this project with a kick-off meeting to discuss the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) design requirements, the requests of WERHA and the needs of the future tenants. WERHA has set up remarkable programs to help educate tenants on home maintenance and homeownership. We knew that they would be looking for unique units that would inspire the tenants to make these units their homes — places to raise families, create memories and grow as responsible future homeowners.
During the initial site visit, we were inspired by the interior of a building we toured (pictured below). The building started discussions about a preference for natural wood materials that we carried into our interior scheme for the units.
The final designs have light-filled interior spaces — thanks to an abundance of windows on the solar-facing southern facades. The units were designed using passive solar house principles for energy efficiency. The footprint is flexible, allowing the entire unit to rotate or flip on each of the 30 sites so that the solar façade is always facing south. This, combined with the bright exterior colors selected, gives the neighborhood variation and reinforces the sense of individual custom homes rather than mass-produced housing.
The MPR article conveys how beneficial the LIHTC program can be for developing meaningful projects in Indian Country. We’d like to see more Indian Country affordable housing projects recognized in the national media. Our clients deserve recognition for their hard work and dedication to their communities. If your project has been recognized, please drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!