Affordable Housing Concept for $99k

The 99k House was Square Root's entry for a low-income housing competition sponsored by Rice University. The project was to be built for a total cost of $99,0000, and was to employ sustainable building technologies wherever possible. The winning design was to be built on an actual site in downtown Houston and given to a qualifying family.

This project relies on pursuing a vernacular sustainability, underpinned with a pragmatic minimalism to distill this residence into an energy-efficient, contemporary shelter.

Drawing upon the existing housing stock (single-story raised-pier ‘shotgun’ houses) of this neighborhood in Houston, Texas, we separated and shifted the massing to increase greater opportunities for natural ventilation, natural light, and exterior living space. Further breakdown of the structure allowed us to divide the spaces into easily reproducible 10’x10’ modules.

These modules are to be shop fabricated in a quality-controlled assembly line process to reduce the amount of construction waste, achieve a higher quality product, and reduce overall costs through economies of scale and specialized manufacturing tasks. Material changes and configuration options provide the homeowner with a level of customization to suit the orientation of their site and lifestyle.

While the modules are being fabricated, pier and beam foundation will be erected on site and prepared for the modules to be craned in to place. A site-built deck, entry doors, mechanical installations, and minimal trim work are all that will be required once the modules are placed keeping erection time minimal.

Deep roof overhangs and a highly insulated reflective shell along with a naturally ventilated central atrium positioned to capture the prevailing breezes help to combat the hot local climate. The HVAC system is an energy efficient electric ductless system (installed at either end of atrium) in tandem with an electric radiant wall board installed in each of the modules. An electric on-demand water heater provides domestic hot water.

©Square Root Architecture + Design, Ltd.