Coastal Style

Habitat for Humanity Takes a Modern Tack

Since Habitat for Humanity’s founding in 1976, the nonprofit and its volunteers have assembled over 500,000 homes internationally. Nevertheless the ambition to provide shelter for those in need has not always been fulfilled with equal architectural ambition. Most of the homes are traditional in terms of construction and form, originating from the places where they’re built, the appeal of traditional forms and the volunteer labor. However, these and other factors haven’t ceased Habitat from trekking into regions where typical single-family homes are more challenging to realize — or from working with architects to research options.

Constructed for Habitat, a new book from David Hinson and Justin Miller of Auburn University (the college that’s home to the famed design-build Rural Studio), carries comprehensive looks in a baker’s dozen of Habitat projects that involve architects or design-build programs at design schools. This ideabook highlights three projects in the book that take a modern design strategy.

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Of the 13 projects detailed in the book, seven are collaborations with architects and six are collaborations with design colleges. Each job profile provides the identical information: project deadline, “catalysts for cooperation,” design process, building process, lessons learned and floor plans, together with photographs.

1. EcoMOD4, Charlottesville, Virginia

One of the homes in cooperation with an architecture college is the ecoMOD4 job, with the University of Virginia (UVA) and Habitat for Humanity Greater Charlottesville. The house is the fourth ecoMOD project, which is UVA’s initiative to utilize innovative construction techniques and technologies to make homes that gobble up fewer tools in both structure and operation. The projects involve both architecture and technology students.

Even the “MOD” of this ecoMOD name pertains to modular structure, meaning that much of the house is built off, in controlled factory requirements, then trucked to the site to be completed. The ecoMOD4 house is made up of 2 large modules, one for your living spaces on the ground floor and one to the bedrooms upstairs.

Before Photo

The house was built in an old hangar. Past ecoMOD houses integrated structural insulated panels (SIPs), steel framing or other innovative systems, but timber framing was used for this one, in line with other Habitat projects.

Before Photo

Following the modules were attracted to the site and put in place, the house was completed within a matter of weeks.

As indicated, the two-story house has bedrooms piled above the living areas. The T-shaped plan arises from the constraints of transport that the modules, but it also generates well-scaled chambers indoors. For reference, the road visible in the very first photos of this house is to the right on the design; therefore the deck (7) is on the other side of the house.

Though the module is currently very broad, the living area is still quite open. Here we’re looking from the living room toward the kitchen/dining area and the deck beyond.

This last opinion of ecoMOD4 is awaiting front door in the hallway next to the stairs. The storage under the stairs and also the cable guardrails are nice touches.

2. 10-Home Roxbury Estates, Seattle

This second job in Designing for Habitat is 10 single-family homes designed by Rick Sundberg (subsequently with Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects) with Habitat for Humanity Seattle/South King County.

Callison Architecture supplied planning services for your job, initially putting a dozen units in one building. But residents of this area didn’t need a large building among the fabric of single-family homes, therefore Callison revised the plan to provide 10 homes. They’re oriented in a U shape at one end of a block. Single-story homes (1) are around 24th and 25th streets, while two-story homes front Roxbury.

Sundberg agreed to take on the pro bono job (all of the architects in the book donated their solutions) if the homes could be modern. He produced Pacific Northwest modern structures that are barely contradictory to the circumstance, even as the normal gable is left handed with a butterfly roof.

The five-bedroom house program consists of 2 rectangles altered relative to one another. This breaks down the scale of the house, helps to articulate the exterior through separate colors (observable in the previous photos), generates roof overhangs and allows access to the back porch.

A sizable living-dining-kitchen space is located inside every house (this photograph shows a one-story house), just like from the ecoMOD4. The butterfly roof, while difficult for the volunteers to framework, allows for taller outside walls and windows that are higher to bring in natural light.

The mix of colors out is a fantastic reason to add some colour inside also.

3. Two Homes in Portland, Oregon

The next job is composed of 2 homes, a two-bedroom and a four-bedroom. Produced by architects Scott Mooney and David Posada in a contest sponsored by the regional U.S. Green Building Council, the project was realized by Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East with relatively minor modifications that didn’t impact the green building characteristics of the plan.

This rendering shows an early version of the one-story two-bedroom from the foreground and the two-story four-bedroom beyond; a low roof (not built — the design was a duplex in the early phases but then changed to single-family homes later) connects the 2 homes and defines part of a shared courtyard. Notice the solar panels on the roof of this four-bedroom house, which were intended but sadly not built when a donor for the system was not found.

The two-bedroom house can be found on the left (south) and the four-bedroom on the north, allowing the sunlight to enter the courtyard and the windows overlooking it.

Green construction features are evident within this rendered section. While strong partitions on the two-bedroom face the courtyard, clerestory windows allow for natural ventilation throughout the house; similar ventilation is located with all the four-bedroom’s narrow footprint. Given that both roofs slope toward the courtyard, this exterior space is normal for rainwater collection; the set process is observable beneath the courtyard.

Here is a view of this two-bedroom home’s entrance.

And a view of the four-bedroom home’s entrance round the corner.

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