UB10 rolls toward completion

Although much of the spring has been dedicated to my thesis project, I’ve also been participating in the URBANbuild 10 construction process. URBANbuild is a great program, one of the real strengths of the Tulane School of Architecture. I feel very fortunate to have participated in the design last semester and to now be working with the great team building this house. The progress since the start of the semester has been excellent. Despite some significant rain, as well as design changes, Mardi Gras, and all the other issues that crop up on a New Orleans construction site, we have a house with a finished …

The house

As promised, here is the house in Seattle that I am working on. It is a partial renovation; the existing house, which had no foundation to speak of, is being supported on a temporary structure (one of the wooden beams is visible under the house) while we pour a new concrete foundation. In this photo, the concrete footings have been poured, and the metal sticking up out of the ground is the steel reinforcement that will tie into the foundation walls. The new house will keep features of the old, while expanding in front and gaining a second story as …

A House for Henry

Henry is an elderly man living in a quiet back alley near Nichols Elementary School. His house is being rebuilt by the Hope Community Development Agency using federal hurricane recovery funds. He asked for very little, just a small, comfortable house with a nice place to sit outside and spend time with friends.


It turns out that Virginia’s New River Valley has its very own design studio. It’s part of a non-profit community development corporation called Community Housing Partners (CHP) that works throughout Virginia and the surrounding region. The Community Design Studio (CDS) is located in Christiansburg, VA, about 8 miles from my house in Blacksburg. And I went and moved 800 miles to work at a design studio in Biloxi, Mississippi! I must be crazy. I found out about the CDS through its connection to the Rose Fellowship Program. The Rose Fellowship is a three-year architectural fellowship supported by Enterprise Community Partners …

USGBC 2010 Natural Talent Design Competition

A group from the GCCDS is entering the United States Green Building Council’s 2010 Natural Talent Design Competition. This is a competition for emerging professionals or students to design an efficient green house for an elderly client in the Broadmoor neighborhood of New Orleans. Ultimately, four designs will be chosen for construction, and these will be evaluated based on the project criteria to choose a ‘winner’. Meeting these criteria will be no easy feat. Here’s an idea of the difficult (some might say crazy) program requirements: 2-bedroom, 1.5-bath, 720-880 SF house LEED Platinum $100,000 construction budget Elevated 7 feet above …

A House for John, 2

Volunteer group Christian Aid Ministries has returned to the coast for another season and they are once again blowing us away with the speed and quality of their work. On the morning of January 4, John’s house in East Biloxi was nothing more than a floor raised in the air. Two weeks later, a fully framed house stands ready for roofing, siding, and windows.

Lorena’s Dedication

This morning, IRD held a ceremony to dedicate Lorena’s house, which is now finished thanks to the hard work of Training U, Pathfinder Mission, and YouthBuild. The house looks great; this YouthBuild class has learned a lot and done a great job.

A House for John

John’s house is finally under way. Saturday, I helped notch the piles and build the rim joists along with a group of students from Keesler. Since then, Jeremy, Molly, Doug, and Colleen have been making progress on the floor.

A House for Lorena

The rebuilding efforts of many Gulf Coast non-profits have been proceeding slowly lately as some funding sources have dwindled and others, such as funding from the Mississippi Development Authority, have been slow to materialize. Yet progress is still being made. One of my houses, in Long Beach, is being funded by its owner and is moving forward thanks to the efforts of International Relief and Development and Training U, a construction training program. The house is for a lady named Lorena and features two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The compact design also includes a screened porch (see below). The plan …

Rural Studio

Several months back, in early May, I visited the Rural Studio for their end-of-term closing ceremonies and pig roast. A program of Auburn University’s College of Architecture, Design and Construction, the Rural Studio is embedded in rural Hale County, Alabama. Throughout Hale County, the Rural Studio puts architecture students to work designing and building creative, low-cost, high-quality solutions to the needs of rural communities. Auburn/Rural Studio alumni Jessie and Britton led us on an amazing three-day tour of this special place.