Home design competition winners hope to help alleviate SLC housing crisis

SALT LAKE CITY - Salt Lake City has announced the winners of a special home design competition, and leaders say the plans could help alleviate the affordable housing crisis in the city.

The designs aren't your average homes, and instead aim to represent the future of affordable housing with super modern touches, out-of-the-box ideas and the latest in energy efficiency technology.

"They're very different, really different concepts," said Melissa Jensen, director of Salt Lake City Housing and Neighborhood Development. "It's the beginning of a new trend."

The city chose the two winning designs, known as the "Slim House" and "N3," from a handful of entries submitted to the Home Innovation Competition.

According to the city, Salt Lake City's Housing Innovation Lab- which sponsored the competition- was created to push forward innovation in the the affordable housing industry.

"Housing is hard for everyone in this market," Jensen said. "Nobody can find a house, nobody can find a place to rent​."

The competition's goal: Create a home for under $250,000 that doesn't compromise technology or high tech features.

Tiffany Ivins and her husband Mitchell Spence with Redfish Builders came up with the N3 home.

"The home is built on foam, 14 inches of foam," she explained. "It's wrapped in insulation very tightly."

The 2,000 square foot space is also powered by the sun.

Joerg Ruegemer, an architect with Atelier Jorg Rugemer (AJR) drew up the plans for the Slim House.

It's designed to fit some of the city's narrowest lots.

"It has a very challenging site. It's only 33 feet wide by 140 or so​," he said.

Ruegemer said the home features a passive design that cuts down on energy costs.

"If you provide affordability on this efficiency sector for those people who need it, they can save a lot of money," he said.

Jensen said they hope to break ground in 2018 on a city-owned lot to build the Slim House.