Ruskin, Florida

This housing project for migrant and seasonal farm workers, located in Hillsborough County, Florida will provide homes for 27 families in a series of two story buildings. Funding for the project was provided by the USDA Rural Development Foundation and Florida Housing Finance Corporation.

The three-bedroom, two-bath units, each with large covered balconies/patios were distributed throughout three buildings, each with 4-units on the ground and 4-units on the second floor around an open covered courtyard space that acts as a “brise-soleil”, creating a very efficient circulation plan while minimizing the “footprint” on what is a very densely tree covered site adjacent to a wetland conservation area.

A single 2-unit on the ground and 2-unit on a second floor building completes the 27-unit housing project. In the 4-unit building, a ground unit space has been dedicated for a community room/computer facility and is adjacent to a covered play area for children, a volleyball court and a covered outdoor cooking facility complete the site composition along with the required parking for the development.

The simple repetitive unit design was built under budget, and in contrast to other residential facilities built for the Little Manatee Village, it was built out of CBS construction as opposed to frame construction. The decision to build with CBS was proven invaluable, especially after Hurricane Irma slammed the west coast of Florida in 2017, and major damage was sustained by many of the frame built units and absolutely nothing happened to the CBS-built apartments.

The design concept intentionally preserved a vast number of existing trees, which not only acted as a visual buffer for the residential units from the street, but also, allowed the vegetation to help protect the apartments from damage during the hurricane Irma event.

Each building, while repetitive in form, are differentiated by the introduction of primary color accents at the covered patios and balconies, further personalizing the units for the building occupants.

The Migrant Farm Worker Housing project for The Little Manatee Village provides a new, raised level of housing expectations for migrant farm workers and their families, occupants that for too long have been treated as second-class individuals, while living in quiet coexistence with its natural setting.