The competition invited ideas for a single family house prototype to be built within 99K construction budget employing local sustainable and replication strategies for Houston’s Fifth Ward. The Fifth Ward has seen recent decay and foreclosures in the housing market, the aim is to revitalize the area by bringing families back to the neighborhood.
Given budget constraints, a prefab industrial Quonset construction system, abundantly available on the outskirts of Houston, was selected because it can minimize erection time, cause efficiencies in the ability to act as both roof and wall and accommodate a wide range of labor capabilities. It utilizes crimped steel ribs to create self structuring spans of varying lengths that have the benefit of being energy efficient through the recycled nature of the steel and its high reflectivity.
Long term sustainable strategies include constructing a ‘double shell’ concept that serves as an insulating air barrier and creates cavities that are programmed with services, such as ducts and conduits. High to low volume collective spaces are created to allow for stack ventilation while the foundation system yields little impervious cover, a result from the application of the Quonset system.
The system is manipulated to be site specific, hinting at iterations that allow subsequent variety. The shift in the east west axis zones the site into public private exterior spaces, responds to solar orientation and layers the house visually to create “curb appeal” compatible with immediate context.
Amna Ansari was asked to lead and direct the design for the competition.
Powers Brown Architecture
Jeffrey Brown of Powers Brown ArchitectureHarvey Builders - Pricing