Small Builds, Big Futures: A Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis in Providence

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The demand for suitable, affordable housing in Providence appears to be increasing with no end in sight. Unfortunately, rising construction costs and shrinking public subsidies are making it more and more challenging for non-profit developers to produce reasonably-priced units that low-income households can afford to maintain. In response to this dilemma, ONE Neighborhood Builders (ONE|NB) and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) have teamed up to create Small Builds, Big Futures. The proposal, a prototype small home (837 SF) constructed in the Olneyville neighborhood using a novel high R-value wall assembly method, would replace typical residential building methods with a more energy-efficient, durable, and inexpensive structure. This innovative design even qualified for the final round of the U.S. Department of Energy Race to Zero competition!

Join ONE|NB and the RISD team on Friday, September 21st at 5 PM at the Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island to celebrate and learn more about this ground-breaking design. The exhibition will share a space with ONE|NB’s 30th Anniversary Celebration, 30 Years to Become ONE|NB: Celebrating our Past, Inspiring the Future. In addition to the Small Builds, Big Futures showcase, guests can also expect to enjoy live performances, local food, and signature cocktails. Tickets can be purchased in advance at

These events are being recorded and photographed. By attending, you give your consent to be photographed, filmed, taped, and/or recorded.


Jonathan Knowles


RISD Professor Jonathan Knowles has over 25 years of experience designing and managing large-scale architectural projects. His work is primarily focused on the design and construction of net-zero and performative architecture, or buildings that produce energy exclusively through the form of the building and/or technical makeup of the enclosure. Knowles will be accompanied at the exhibition by some members of the team of architectural students (see below) who were the leading visionaries for the original small home project submission to the U.S. Department of Energy, Race to Zero competition.

David Amdie, 2nd Year Masters of Architecture Candidate
Pedro Armelin, 3rd Year Bachelor of Architecture Candidate
Michail Birman, 5th Year Bachelor of Architecture Candidate
Robert Calise, 5th Year Bachelor of Architecture Candidate
Karin Hostettler, 2nd Year Masters of Architecture Candidate
Jae Young Jo, 5th Year Bachelor of Architecture Candidate
Sang Ho Ju, 3rd Year Master of Architecture Candidate
Taylor McCabe, 1st Year Master of Architecture Candidate
Bill Morales - 2nd Year Masters of Architecture Candidate
Farinaz Moslemi, 3rd Year Masters of Architecture Candidate
Wilfred Rodriguez, 2nd Year Masters of Architecture Candidate
Xuan Wang - 2nd Year Masters of Architecture Candidate

Jennifer Hawkins


Jennifer Hawkins received her Masters of Public Administration from New York University and her BA from Connecticut College. She has over twenty years of experience in the non-profit community development and housing sector. She has worked in senior management positions with organizations that tackle the most pressing concerns for low-income individuals, including Women’s Development Corporation, Providence Housing Authority, Madison Park Development Corporation, and Breaking Ground. In her current role as Executive Director of ONE|NB, Hawkins spearheads local efforts to eradicate housing insecurity, and promote safe, healthy Providence neighborhoods.

To learn more about ONE|NB’s work, and our three-pronged approach to sustainable neighborhood revitalization, please visit our website (