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Jul142009

Loft House / Ryan Stephenson, Joey Fante, Kait Caldwell, Aimee O’Carroll

“Learn by doing” sounds like something very obvious when it comes to education in most fields, and specially in architecture schools.

I have taught at schools that embrace it in different ways, either by doing a collective small project during the semester, or building a complete project over the development of the final graduate project. This last method was inspired by the work of the good ol’ Rural Studio.

For those of you that don´t know what Rural Studio is, Wikipedia describes it as:

The Rural Studio is a design-build architecture studio run by Auburn University which aims to teach students about the social responsibilities of the profession of architecture while also providing safe, well-constructed and inspirational homes and buildings for poor communities in rural west Alabama, part of the so-called “Black Belt“.

The studio was founded in 1993 by architects Samuel Mockbee and D. K. Ruth. Each year the program builds five or so projects - a house by the second-year students, three thesis projects by groups of 3-5 fifth year students and one or more outreach studio projects. The Rural Studio has built more than 80 houses and civic projects in Hale, Perry and Marengo counties.

And so, it´s not only building for educational purposes, but also to engage future architects with their community, establishing a true link between the needs of the society and the profession. The importance of Rural Studio has been recognized atInto the Open: Positioning Practice, the official US exhibition at the past Venice Biennale.

Future architect Joey Fante shared with us his project for 20K (team:Ryan Stephenson, Joey Fante, Kait Caldwell, Aimee O’Carroll), the Loft House, part of the 2007/2008 thesis class at Rural Studio. The idea is to design a build a house for$10,000 in materials and $10,000 in proposed labor cost.

Project description after the break:

The 20K project is a continuing project, now in its 6th year. It is a project based on trying to design|build|create alternative forms of housing on a very tight budget. The project was originally conceived on the 502 loan program from the United States Agriculture Program. The loan program was set into action through the works of HERO (Hale Empowerment Revitalization Organization) setting up persons with appropriate loans that they could be approved for, with loans starting at $20,000 for new housing. The concept of the 20K is to design and build a house for $10,000 in materials and $10,000 in proposed labor cost.

At the Rural Studio, the students are the designers and the contractors, acting out all manors of the project. For the 2007/2008 thesis class from Auburn University, the project for all was the $20K. Joining the thesis class for that year was the outreach class, students not from Auburn University, but from all across the globe.

As four teams of four were created- so were four new 20K houses: the pattern book house . the loft house . the roundwood house . the bridge house. Each team took their own unique approach to design and construction on such a tight budget. Within a calendar year four new clients all had new houses- houses they owned with the help of HERO.

Source: archdaily.com

 

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    Loft House / Ryan Stephenson, Joey Fante, Kait Caldwell, Aimee O’Carroll - DesignToDesign Magazine - DesignToDesign.com , The Ultimate Online design Magazine
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Reader Comments (10)

Awesome. Would love to see it decorated.

October 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternancy

I would love to see the loft room finished and a 360 tour, like a real estate tour.

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMeme

Please post details about the stairs--they really seem perfect for my new loft.....

October 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermc

While the project is attractive, and succeeds at meeting the budgetary constraints, I wonder if there is good data about the class of home buyer that needs a $20,000 house? I'm imagining single parent households with young children, or the disabled and/or elderly living on a fixed income. None of these examples could function in this design.

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterE

Very neat concept! Are plans and material lists freely available for this project? I like the design of the stairs to the loft. I bet they'd be tough to navigate in the middle of the night.

January 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDaveSz

freaking divine....BUT, stairs will not accomadate my dog or husband.....LUV it...want it with a different stairway.

January 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercarrie

The Rural Studio program, a college outreach program (I don't remember which college off of the top of my head) has been building the $20,000 homes ($10K for materials, $10K for labor) for many years. I believe they have built 12 so far, and each one is different and unique. I believe that they have another 12 in the works. And for the first time ever they are planning to now take these homes from just $20K one-off build projects, to actual $20K Products, ie manufactured homes. Much information is about them on the net, just Google 20K Homes or Rural Studio. Here is their 27 page (and counting) blog: http://20khouse.ruralstudioblogs.org/

PS. For those of you who have never climbed such stairs, they are actually easier to go up and down than normal stairs, which are like climbing, but these stairs are more just like walking up or down hill. These are actually easier for seniors and those with joint or motor problems to use. I know - I'm in my 60s and have had both my knees replaced - and I would much rather ascend or descend thse stairs than normal ones. Much easier.

November 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFred

I like the stair concept, but not the implementation.

I don't like the bare steel, which appears to be an accident (or three) waiting to happen. I can just see someone backing into them, and jamming a tread into their back, or the back of their head.

I would prefer to see them covered with a wood tread, both to provide some additional traction, and to somewhat alleviate the knife-edge problem. I would also add a wide wooden rail (or two thin parallel ones) running diagonally up the outside edge of the treads for the same reason.

November 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBob

I agree completely with you Bob, those stairs as they are, are just an accident waiting to happen. I would also implement design changes as you outlined to dramatically improve the safety. Mostly what I was commenting on is how user friendly these types of stairs are in general, especially for a senior citizen like me with mobility problems. As I said, the best comparison I can make is when ascending or descending these types of stairs, it is much like walking up or down a slope.

November 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFred

I've been following their 20K projects for many years. It is from Auburn University, and the faculty and student builder staff are to be commended for their builds and successes. All of these houses have been built for low income people, who otherwise would not have any house. Each one is built for $10K in materials and 10K in labor. As has already been stated, there is much information on the internet about them and the homes they have built. They have also designed and built a number of community projects. And every time I see this particular house posted somewhere - like here, commenters complain about the staircase. We need to all get over that and commend the designers and student builders. Whatever is lacking in safety in this particular staircase I'm sure could be fixed for a couple of hundred dollars. The last time I communicated with the 20K staff they told me that they were working towards making plans for these homes commercially available. They also have their own emailing list to which you can sign up to for free. Just search for 20K House Projects or Auburn University and you'll find it.

June 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFred

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