The 99k House Competition for an Affordable, Sustainable House Prototype

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      Paul Clerkin

      The Rice Design Alliance (RDA) and AIA Houston announce a two-stage national competition to design a sustainable, affordable house that addresses the needs of the low-income family in the Gulf Coast region. The competition objectives are to

      * Broaden awareness of green building strategies applicable to affordable housing,
      * Generate and publicize buildable examples of sustainable, affordable houses, and
      * Construct an exemplary sustainable, affordable house prototype.

      The competition challenges designers and architects to design a sustainable, affordable house. Special consideration should be given to affordability, longevity, energy savings benefits, and appropriateness for the hot, humid climate of Houston. The City of Houston has donated a site for the house through the Land Assemblage Redevelopment Authority (LARA) initiative. The lot is located in Houston’s historic Fifth Ward, a residential area east of downtown.

      The competition is a two-stage project to be completed in 2008. Stage I will be an international design competition for a single-family house with up to 1,400 SF, including three bedrooms and one-and-a-half to two bathrooms. The construction budget is up to $99,000. Deadline for submissions is January 14, 2008. The Jury will select three finalists who will each receive a stipend of $5,000 and will be expected to produce construction drawings.

      In Stage II the three submissions approved for continuation will have an opportunity to refine their project and must complete a set of comprehensive construction documents. The Jury will review these resubmissions for pricing by a Houston area home-building expert allied with the competition organizers. The Jury will select the winner based on bids and adaptability to reproduction as well as design. The winner will receive an additional $5,000 stipend. Once constructed, the winning house will be sold or auctioned to a low-income family.

      For more information and to register, please go to the competition website,

      This year the Rice Design Alliance celebrates 35 years as a nonprofit, public education outreach program of the School of Architecture at Rice University. RDA is dedicated to the advancement of architecture, urban design, and the built environment in the Houston region through educational programs, active programs to initiate physical improvements, and its journal Cite: The Architecture + Design Review of Houston, celebrating 25 years of continuous publication.

      The American Institute of Architects, Houston Chapter is the professional society for architects in the greater Houston area and has over 1,700 architect and urban design members. AIA Houston recently moved to downtown Houston in a newly created Architecture Center, a collaboration with the Houston Architecture Foundation, which gives grants for architecture-related projects and provides educational programming for the Houston community.

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