Affordable / Sustainable Housing Design Competition | Houston, TX | 2018
| Hosted by the City of Houston in partnership with AIA Houston|
Complete the Community: A Housing and Urban Design Competition
This elevated 1,390 sq. ft. two-story house fits on one half of a 50’ x 100’ lot. Located 3 feet from the side property line, the house leaves room for a matching unit which benefits the economy of scale needed in affordable housing. If left vacant, the half lot can also be used for a community garden or infill park to help raise awareness of the city’s efforts to strengthen neighborhoods and increase community engagement.
Hurricane Harvey and the recent July 4th flood have demonstrated that all neighborhoods in Houston are vulnerable to flooding. This house is designed to be durable and resilient while maximizing permeability. The cast-in-place concrete and concrete block are affordable because the footprint of the ground level is restricted to 130 sq. ft. The simplicity of the design shortens construction time and doesn’t preclude off-site prefabrication.
While the cost to elevate the first floor of a house 7’-3” versus a more conventional 3’ is relatively small, the difference in usability between a space 7’-3” tall and a crawlspace is significant. The taller space can be home to cars, bicycles, storage, outdoor dining and social events facing both the street and back yard.
The plan maximizes flexibility and adaptability to varying uses. A future elevator, second stair to the back yard, 1 1/2 baths or two can all be accommodated. The highly visible elevated porch facing the front yard provides a buffer between the street and living space while encouraging informal neighborhood interactions enjoyed by traditional porches.