The Calyx Project aims to break the cycle of homelessness, through an innovative 16sqm transitional housing solution with a community focus. Demonstrating how architecture can resolve complex social issues, the project’s key difference is its level of engagement from the community – successfully utilising built form to raise awareness and funds.
There is a current shortage of housing for people experiencing homelessness in Australia. Data shows that in recent years, there has been an increase in returning clients to specialist homelessness services and those receiving assistance have required longer periods of support.
Looking at the issue holistically, the project’s model aims to reduce repeat homelessness, helping people reintegrate into society by gaining skills and employment to sustain long-term housing.
By reducing the reoffend rate, the scalable economic benefits and demand on ongoing government funding streams across correctional services, emergency accommodation, and hospitalisation costs should also be realised.
Unlike traditional solutions that repurpose existing housing stock or utilise temporary use of motels and share houses, the project utilises the tiny home concept for transitional housing. The Calyx-16 is a 16sqm, safe, affordable, modular, transportable, energy-efficient and eco-friendly dwelling — a dignified place to call home. The homes are designed to be built within villages, fostering community and reintegration into society.
Funded through donations, the construction of the prototype has led to strategic partnerships, successfully assisting in raising money toward piloting the first village, and awareness and understanding of a complicated social issue within the wider community.
The commercial alignment of the prototype through community partnerships with local festivals and national businesses has allowed the model to engage with both customers and employees.
Encapsulating our collective vision ‘smallest impact on the environment, biggest impact on the community’, the design uses environmentally conscious materials, is solar powered, and pre-committed to being carbon neutral prior to construction commencement.
The goal is to break the cycle of homelessness, but also break the stereotypes around what it means to be homeless — giving the wider community a sense of agency at a level that is accessible and meaningful.
The design by major sponsor Studio Nine Architects stems from the definition of ‘calyx’, a flower’s outer layer protecting the petals as they develop — sleeping one, with an ensuite, small kitchen, porch and storage.
As a transportable piece of architecture with no context, the exterior intended to make an impact. Whilst environmentally sound, white proudly stands out within an urban setting, symbolising new beginnings.
The village concept is targeted towards activating under-utilised CBD sites, such as dormant carparks or vacant lots awaiting development on a medium-term ground lease arrangement. The modular design can be relocated to the next site when required. This model gives landowners the opportunity to positively contribute to a social issue while entering a lease arrangement that achieves returns on otherwise idle property.
A village will include more than four pods, with an agency placing complementary cohorts to manage social risks. Designated pods for caseworkers to reside onsite and provide 24-hour support will be located within the village and managed by a not-for-profit.
A larger central communal pod will house a kitchen, laundry area and space for skill-based workshops, allowing residents to safely connect, access services and learn new skills through employment opportunities with our sister company.