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In Houston’s Third Ward community, many original shotgun-style houses were being torn down and their dwellers displaced. RBW focused on a segment of the housing market that is often neglected-– an extra-small house for one or two people. The challenge was to design and build a dwelling of modest size (500-square feet) with a small projected budget ($25,000) while implementing innovative design and construction techniques.

The design of this house is sensitive to its surroundings and borrows design concepts found in neighboring homes. Features such as generous porches, deep overhangs, and aligned openings for greater cross-ventilation are rendered with modern construction methods and materials. These concepts are, by their nature, energy efficient. A thickened wall provides additional insulation from the western sun exposure and provides the house with ample space for storage and services.

The house is a modern interpretation of the shotgun-style row house that once populated many areas in the southern United States. An adjustable footing/foundation system lifts the building off the ground, much like the concrete block footings that are used to support the original row houses located within this community. Hard plank walls and metal windows are used in place of wood products to minimize maintenance and upkeep. The core of the house is wrapped in translucent polycarbonate which distributes light throughout the structure. The core contains the bathroom and accommodates the kitchen along its outer edge. The placement of this single element divides the interior into “large” and “small” spaces that may be furnished in a variety of ways. Porches offer places for gathering and extend the interior areas into the surrounding community.

Special thanks to all of the participants, volunteers, donors, and friends.  

Donors: AIA Houston, David Morris and Ann Lewis, Kathleen Boyd, Larry Fossey, Project Row Houses, Rice Design Alliance Houston Initiatives, Susan Vaughan Foundation   

Special Thanks: Houston Area Plumbing Joint Apprentice Committee, IBEW Local Union 716, Chad Loucks, Marlin Interior Millwork, Polygal U.S.A., RAM Industries, Inc., Rogers Air Conditioning, Stahlman Lumber Co. 

Consultants: Karen Rose Surveying and Engineering, Matrix Structural Engineers 

Students: Amy Adams, Jill Bacon, David Barr, Patrick Battle, Miriam Bentley, Sharen Bidaisee, Dan Burkett, Elizabeth Butman, Lisa Cassedy. Amy Chien, Seth Clarke, Allan Co, Carina Coel, Kelli DesRochers, Joey Favarolo, Sharon Floyd, Joseph Gabriel, Anna Goodman, Audrey Handelman, Eric Hartz, CJ Hoogland, Jenny Hoover, Maureen Hull, Julien Jaworski, Laura Johnson, Josh Jones, Chris Kimball, Taryn Kinney, Peter Klein, Jason LaRocca, Lina Lee, Steven Maynard, Christopher Mechaley, Karlene Morgan, Davis Neindorff, Dan Nemec, Chester Nielsen, Jennifer Painter, Jimin Park, Matthew Radune, Bill Rankin, Ben Reavis, Jeremy Richey, Eric Rosprim, Philip Schmunck, Christian Sheridan, Chris Starkey, Michelle Stevenson, Doug Subbiondo, Tara Teter, Gary Tran, Jordan Vexler, Mark Watabe, Sandra Winstead, Soojin Yoo 

Volunteers: Jeffrey Beer, Joel Gilliam, Jonathan Grenader, Jenny Hoover, Sky Lanigan, Anton Sinkewich 

Faculty Advisors: Nonya Grenader FAIA, Danny Samuels, FAIA 

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