AddThis ShareCONTACT: B.J. AlmondPHONE:(713) 348-6770EMAIL: [email protected] ARCHITECTSTO DESIGN ‘EXTRA-SMALL HOUSE’Rice Building Workshop will use grant tosupport project While townhouses withsix-digit price tags are springing up in midtown Houston, architecture studentsand faculty at Rice University are planning to design and build a small homethat is affordable to people displaced by the larger, more-expensivestructures.With a $5,000 grant fromthe Rice Design Alliance, about 30 undergraduate and graduate students enrolledin the Rice Building Workshop will create a house that is no bigger than 500square feet on land donated by Project Row Houses in Houston’s ThirdWard.“The Extra-Small Houseproject for 2002 will address a part of the housing market that is oftenforgotten,” said Nonya Grenader, associate director of the workshop and avisiting critic at Rice’s School of Architecture. “We’re designing a small homefor one or two people who might need a starter home, an accessible home forsomeone with a disability, a home for someone with limited financial resources,or just a home for someone who merely wishes to live simply and doesn’t want anapartment.”Danny Samuels, directorof the Rice Building Workshop and a visiting professor at Rice’s School ofArchitecture, said the small scope of the project presents a special challengeto students.“A small house can berich with innovation, invention and ideas,” he said. “Ideally, our students willcome up with a design that can be easily replicated, thereby increasing thestock of affordable alternative housing in Houston.”Part of the designchallenge is finding materials that will not exceed the maximum budget for thehouse—$25,000. Students can investigate new materials as well as recycledandsalvage materials. The design should also take into account the Houstonclimate, closing off west exposures and optimizing north exposures and crossventilation.Design and constructiondocuments for the Extra-Small House will be prepared in spring semester 2002,January through April. City approvals, testing and fabrication of selectedcomponents will be handled during the summer. Construction of the house isscheduled for fall semester 2002, September through December.The Rice BuildingWorkshop gives architecture students an opportunity to turn ideas into builtproducts. By following through on a project from design to construction,students can become more aware of the real-world building process and learn fromexperience how the process can alter design concepts. The $5,000 grant awardedto the Rice Building Workshop by the Rice Design Alliance for the Extra-SmallHouse will be supplemented by other funding, Grenader said.The Rice Design Allianceis a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of architecture, urbandesign and the built environment in the Houston region. Rice University is consistently ranked one of America’sbest teaching and research universities. It is distinguished by its: size-2,700undergraduates and 1,500 graduate students; selectivity-10 applicants for eachplace in the freshman class; resources-an undergraduate student-to-faculty ratioof 5-to-1, and the fourth largest endowment per student among private Americanuniversities; residential college system, which builds communities that are bothclose-knit and diverse; and collaborative culture, which crosses disciplines,integrates teaching and research, and intermingles undergraduate and graduatework. Rice’s wooded campus is located in the nation’s fourth largest city and onAmerica’s South Coast.