Project Concept: Density

There are over 42,000 single family lots in Austin with the potential for secondary apartments.

Image courtesy of: Alley Flat Initiative

Accessory Dwelling Unit potential in the residential grid of East Austin.

Diagram courtesy of: Hellen Awino

As a dynamic, active, and environmentally progressive city, Austin experiences continued stress on it’s housing resources and infrastructure as population increases by 110 people (net) each day. Since 1999, due to the influx of people and the lack of housing available, housing costs have risen by more than 85 percent [1]. These increased costs threaten the livelihood of long-time Austinites and the culture that Austin prides itself on.

NexusHaus’ goal is to increase density within Austin’s existing neighborhoods. This goal is supported by an existing partnership between the Austin Community Design & Development Center (ACDDC) and the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) at the University of Texas at Austin called the Alley Flat Initiative. NexusHaus aims to support the Alley Flat Initiative of “creat[ing] an adaptive and self-perpetuating delivery system for sustainable and affordable housing in Austin” [2].

NexusHaus utilizes two modular buildings that can be deployed either as a single, 400-square foot unit or as a two-unit system of 800-square feet. These modules are designed for implementation as alley flats, a type of accessory dwelling unit (ADU) that provides a secondary residence (such as carriage houses) on existing lots throughout Austin.

While these dwellings increase density, they also stress the existing infrastructure of the neighborhood. The integrated water and energy systems of NexusHaus address this by collecting and treating water and utilizing solar power during high-demand, on-peak hours. For more information on how NexusHaus responds to issues of water and energy, see our earlier project concept articles on water and energy.


[1] BBC Research & Consulting, Austin Comprehensive Housing Market Study: City of Austin (Denver: BBC Research & Consulting, 2009)

[2] Alley Flat Initiative

Mar 10, 2015 by Jessica Janzen in NexusNews

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.