Sustainable by design 2050

An initiative of the UIA

Velux model home 2020

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$20K House X, Joanne's House

$20K House X, Joanne's House
$20K House X, Joanne's House
$20K House X, Joanne's House
$20K House X, Joanne's House
$20K House X, Joanne's House
$20K House X, Joanne's House
$20K House X, Joanne's House
Architect
Auburn University Rural Studio (student team: Jacob Beebe, Erika Henriksson, Eric Schmid, Sandra Yubero; faculty team: Andrew Freear, Danny Wicke, Mackenzie Stagg)
Engineers/Specialists
Joe Farruggia, Paul Stoller, Xavier Vendrell
Location
The Americas - USA - Faunsdale, Alabama
Climate Zone
temperate
Design status
build
Date of completion
2010
Type
Housing
Footprint (m²)
68.95
GFA (m²)
68.95
NFA (m²)
60.09
NFA/GFA
0.872
Gross Volume (GV) (m³)
189.13
Building Costs
15735 USD
Building Costs / m² GFA
228.209
Building Costs / m² NFA
261.857
Building Costs / m³ GV
83.197
Cooling / Heating-System

cooling: natural ventilation, ceiling fans
heating: natural gas radiant heater

Use of renewable ressources - low tech
natural cross ventilation
Renewable, recycled, recyclable and innovative materials

The home is typical wood frame construction because wood is an abundant local material. Painted corrugated metal is used as the exterior wall cladding and galvanized metal is used for the roof; both can be recycled at the end of the building's life cycle.

Key Sustainability aspects
solar building integration, vernacular building strategies, renewable building materials, integrated planning process, low cost design
Sustainability rated
No
Social and ethical responsibility

Since its inception in 1993, Rural Studio has focused on instilling in its students the value of socially-conscious design by integrating projects into the context of an underserved population. The Studio exists to educate architecture students, emphasizing the importance of creating appropriate design solutions within the context of the local community. The $20K House program specifically addresses the lack of decent, affordable housing options in Alabama's Black Belt region.

Ressource efficiency and environmental impact

When designing the home, the student team based their dimensions on standard material modules to minimize construction waste. By constructing the home on piers, the team not only addressed issues of building in the area's expansive clay soil, but also reduced the amount of concrete used. Also, by using piers, barely any impervious surface was added to the site. The home is small yet adequately sized, which allows efficiency in heating and cooling the spaces, decreasing the amount of energy consumed.

Economic lifecycle perfomance

The $20K House program gets its name for the highest mortgage a person on median social security can maintain. Traditionally, the lack of conventional credit for low-income individuals means that, for many, trailers offer the only chance for home ownership. Unlike a house, trailers deteriorate very quickly and depreciate in value over time. By keeping the home small and efficient, the $20K House cam become an affordable option and a financial asset for the owner. For example, Joanne's house now appraises at a much higher cost than the value of the materials used to construct it.

Contextual performance and impact

The $20K House seeks to become a viable alternative to the ubiquitous trailer in the rural American landscape. Trailers are designed solely for transport and give no weight to the local context and environment. Alternatively, the $20K House takes into account both the region's climate and social context. The square shape of the home maximizes floor area while minimizing perimenter wall, enabling the client to heat the entire house from a central locations, much as a central hearth hearth did in many Southern homes. Also, the sqaure shape contrasts the long, linear form of the trailer.