Paul Kariouk Joins Global Jury for Tiny House Competition

In February and March of 2024, Paul Kariouk, our principal, was invited to serve as a jurist for the Tiny House 2023 Architecture Competition. Together with a panel of 12 other judges from architectural firms around the world, he volunteered his time to evaluate hundreds of design submissions. The winners were announced on March 30.

Demand for tiny houses has risen in the past decade because they are seen as more affordable and sustainable than a typical suburban house. While not as environmentally friendly as multi-unit urban infill housing, they do require fewer materials to construct and less energy to heat and cool than suburban single-family detached homes.

“I was happy to contribute to the evaluation process,” said Paul. “It’s quite an honour and a great way for me to participate in the architectural and cultural dialogue about homes and sustainable living. As we search for environmentally friendly solutions to our housing crisis, it’s important to me to make sure that architects don’t forget about other important considerations, like cost and universal design for all ages and mobility levels.”


During the evaluation process, Paul looked for designs that:

  1. Showed tectonic understanding and humility. There were quite a few extravagant schemes that were sculptural assemblages, like something an AI could have assembled. In the real world, these would have been hugely costly to construct and would have defeated the mandate for smallness and simplicity.
  2. Demonstrated one complete spatial idea without additional large moving parts. If the mandate was to make a tiny house, then doubling it in size by having one part slide out from another would not make sense. People living in such a home would never compress it. The best schemes figured out not just plausible ways to inhabit tiny spaces but thought about the basics of natural light, airflow, and spatial joy.
  3. Could be fully used for any age group ability — from toddlers to the elderly (i.e., were a single level). Ladders and external stairs would be fine for a play structure but not long-term inhabitation.

You can view the designs on the competition website.