Life Without Buildings: 3rd URBANbuild House Almost Complete: an architecture blog

07 May 2008

3rd URBANbuild House Almost Complete

Just last January, The Tulane School of Architecture broke ground on their 3rd URBANbuild house. Now, barely 5 months—5 months!—later, the new home is almost complete and it's their best one yet. Designed by students over the course of a semester, each URBANbuild house has been an investigation into a new building technique, with this most recent home utilizing Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs).

Besides gaining experience in construction and a more practical sense of materials, students are also learning what it's like to leave the computer and their own private, design headspace and actually work together as an office. And yes, that means there's a client. In this case, it's the Neighborhood Housing Services, who obtain the lots, set the size and budget restrictions, and eventually find familes to occupy the complete homes.

Students were given the difficult task of fitting a comfortable 3 bedroom home in only 1200 sq ft of space. In the above photo, an interior stairwell is programmed for both circulation and storage while it also separates the living space from the kitchen.

In a city that's still very much suffering in the aftermath of Katrina, the URBANbuild program truly serving an important purpose in the community by creating in-fill housing in neighborhoods where it sometimes seems like every other home is still abandoned. It's helping to bringing back a density and sense of community while teaching students and introducing contemporary architecture (informed, of course, by the vernacular) to an area that's never really seen anything like it. This is really just a terrific program that keeps getting better every year.

· The Tulane School of Architecture [website]
· URBANbuild Breaks Ground on New House [Life Without Buildings]

Comments on "3rd URBANbuild House Almost Complete"

Blogger Rob Mitchell said ... (6:15 AM) : 

I will take the blue house any day. The URBANbuild house has no soul or character. Let your mind project a full block of them and you can easily see how we will now have a dead block. No character, no rhythm, the typical modern architecture, "look at me, who cares about the the rest of the street." Think of how utter boring a whole block of these would be ! Look at the difference with the two houses next to the new one. The bankrupting of American architecture.


Blogger jimmy said ... (6:59 AM) : 

"The bankrupting of American architecture." wow. What does that even mean? (if anything, the opposite is true, but that'll have to wait for another post..) I couldn't possibly disagree more. First of all, there wouldn't be an entire block of this house. Each home is drastically different, plus they've always been intended as infill —not as models for a development. And if you actually take a walk through the neighborhood it's quite easy—and quite pleasing— to think of blocks of these homes MIXED with the original new orleans houses. Each house begins with an investigation into the neighborhood and, as I said, are informed by New Orleans vernacular (some, admittedly, more than others). I think it's important to not just rebuild and regurgitate what was there before, but to contribute something new and dynamic to the fabric of the neighborhood.


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