Confronting a housing shortage and history of low-density suburban development, accessory dwellings bring increased greater density and socioeconomic diversity in areas of single-family homes where extensive replacement of the urban fabric is neither possible nor desirable. One example is, Montrose, an area pressured by development and gentrification. In response, Construct’s Accessory project developed strategies to replace the neighborhood’s lost and aging garage apartments with accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

Students first developed adaptive prototypes as part of a Construct studio, working across 35 individual sites in parallel with digitally fabricated plywood envelope systems to examine both novel aesthetic and social relationships—among units, between primary and secondary dwellings, and within the broader urban context—that challenged conceptually, functionally and qualitatively the status of the ADU as an accessory condition. The project was framed conceptually by the “solid surface,” an instrumental logic seeking to synthesize the surface of representation with the thickness of performance, including the configuration of space within and without.

In the second phase, students in Paratype, a Construct seminar, focused on the digital model to create a more developed computational framework that could serve as a quantitative analytical tool and point of comparison for the original proposed design. Then, they proposed an unconventional building envelope assembly aimed at achieving a defined, speculative benefit. Finally, iterative physical models tested the technical resolution and potential challenges of their alternative proposal, which concluded with the completion of large-scale mockup, or paratype.

The Accessory project was presented in the fall of 2018 as part of Six Projects on Accessory Dwelling, an exhibition at the Moody Center for the Arts, and was recognized with a 2019 Studio Award by the Texas Society of Architects.

Studio: Francis Aguillard, Claire Chalifour, Hillary Davlin, Seth Defore, Rachel Grady, Jordan Gracia, George Hewitt, Younha Kim, Haotian Ma, Micah Piven, Lauren Turnage, Jiaxing Yan

Seminar: Claire Chalifour, Eric Cheung, Ekin Erar, George Hewitt, Jack Hilchey, Ilya Rakhlin

Faculty: Andrew Colopy, Construct Co-Director

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