About US

OUR BACKGROUND

micro.villas seeks to advance the American construction industry by 1) researching cutting edge, sustainable materials, techniques, market segments, locations, and management practices, 2) translating these leading-edge theories into practice, and 3) sharing lessons learned with academics and practitioners.

The company's direction has been heavily influenced by the graduate studies of the founders, Katherine Kittrell and Charles Bernard Gagnon. Their academic careers were directed by some of the most influential U.S. and European Traditional Neighborhood Development architecture and urban planning thought-leaders of our time. Micro.villas translates sustainability and resilience academic theory into practice.

OUR MISSION

micro.villas respond to the demographic trends of the new millennia by designing, building and managing economical, high density, urban infill intentional communities.

Inspired by the cohousing, tiny house, and sustainability movements, micro.villas provide efficient workforce housing, and practical second homes, for very active millennials and seniors. Resulting recession-resistant communities minimize the carbon footprint of its residents and promote social capital formation.

HOW WE DO IT

micro.villas incorporate sustainability at three levels: 1) material efficiency (reduced use of land, building materials, energy), 2) pedestrian access (proximity to public transit, healthy food, walkable neighborhoods), and 3) social experiences (attention to private spaces, community spaces, neighborhood connections), and natural affordability. 

Each community is co-managed with tenants, and designed to promote active social engagement for a specific affinity group.

OUR FIRST PROJECT

Spence Garden Community, near Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, is a thirteen unit redevelopment of two 1950's garden-style fourplexes and a third fourplex. Spence intentionally inspires communication among its residents: future sustainability thought leaders. Tenant selection is guided by tenant referrals to promote a high quality experience for both the community and the property manager.

Tenants participate in property maintenance and landscaping to control operating expenses. The small unit size and property age contribute to natural affordability, without sacrificing profit. This NAHB-certified Emerald Green property is energy-efficient, and blocks from light rail and ASU, further contributing to total affordability.

OUR CURRENT PROJECT

Success gave rise to a second, new construction project, VillaNueva, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The 420-square-foot VillaNueva apartments break the traditional mold of studio and one-bedrooms, with more efficient design, ample storage, and purposeful community skybridges.

Amenity programming will be finalized with preleasing tenants. We prepare for urban professionals who celebrate alternative transportation options like walking, biking, scootering, and skateboarding.

VillaNueva is transit-oriented, and features ample, convenient, secured parking for electric vehicles, bicycles and motorcycles.

KATHERINE KITTRELL, prESIDENT and CEO

Katherine's interest in naturally-affordable, intentional communities grew during her PhD studies at Arizona State University's Global Institute of Sustainability, and the University of Utah's City + Metropolitan Planning.

Her first multifamily project, Spence Garden Communities, was a response to the 2008 recession: an economically resilient, income-producing property for her own portfolio. She validated her choice of transit-served, multifamily property with academic research and publishing.

Katherine’s professional career includes over 20 years of financial systems analysis and asset management experience.  Her two millennial-aged college children continue to inspire her unique approach to lifelong learning.

Guang tian, PHD, Research and Development director

Guang's academic research and peer-reviewed publications address residential housing preferences in Utah, the effects of light-rail transit on traffic, and multi-regional cross sectional household travel behavior. His interest in transportation and land use began when he moved from his mid-China home town to study and live in the big cities of China. Seeing the crowds, traffic jams, housing problems, bad air quality, environmental challenges, and other urban issues inspired him to make a difference.  

Guang's deep research skills in English and his native Mandarin are key to developing micro.villas's modular system with Chinese components not currently available in North America. Guang's background is ideal for worldwide transit-oriented development site selection, and evaluation of walkability and site appeal for millennial clients.

    Charles bernard gagnon, artistic director

    Charles is a member of the Ordre des architecture du Québec and the Paris Architectural Order. With over 20 years of experience in the design and construction of projects of all kinds on two continents, he founded an office in Québec City. There, he directs a team of talented people with complementary skills to create dynamic commercial and residential spaces and buildings. Charles’s focus is on humanist and functional design that intentionally provides environmentally friendly, quality, purposeful spaces to live, work and play.

    See the website at www.cargoarchitecture.ca.