Entry for the Rice Design Alliance 99k House Competition | Houston, TX | 2007
Selected as a Finalist among 182 entries.
This 1,370 sq-ft two-story home features an open first floor plan and three bedrooms with two baths on the second floor. The house fits easily on a 33′ x 90′ lot, allowing vehicular access to the rear of the property. An entry porch provides a buffer between first floor living spaces and the street, while offering a welcoming arrival space for guests. The asphalt shingle roof is oriented to accept photovoltaic panels across the 30-degree slope of the North end. Rain water is channeled to a single downspout for collection in a cistern. As a prototype, the small footprint of the two-story house allows an owner the flexibility of placing it on a typical 50′ x 100′ lot in such a way that a second residence or structure can be easily added in the future.
Exterior walls are constructed of modular, steel-reinforced, autoclaved aerated concrete block, or AAC. This material has been used extensively around the world, and now increasingly in the United States for residential and commercial construction. Advantages of AAC block compared to wood-frame construction are its strength, durability, fire resistance, termite resistance, sound insulation and thermal insulation. The typical wood-frame wall assembly with many layered components such as wood studs, plywood sheathing, sheet moisture barrier, adhesive backed flashing, and batt or spray-foam insulation can be eliminated entirely.
The house responds to the traditional forms of the neighborhood while offering new solutions to the global challenges of sustainability.