Affordable Housing Prototype-Part 1 of 4, Design

Developing a housing concept

 I have been working on an affordable housing concept  recently. My goal is to design quality homes that could be built simply and affordably. To achieve that, I have focused on the efficient use of land and simple construction. The next four articles will explain my design.

Unfortunately, architectural ideas can be easily copied, regardless of copyright protection. My concept uses some new design ideas, so I won’t be able to show the site plan or floor plans in these articles. I will be focusing on the exterior design and the design/modeling process in these posts. If you are seriously interested in these concepts, please contact me using the “Contact Steve” page.

Some details for the technically inclined:
.density 14-18 units/acre
.unit size 2 Br-4 Br, 1,000 sf to 1,450 sf
.parking: resident 2/unit, guest on streets at .33/unit
.construction type V-B (simple house construction, with no special fire resistance or sprinklers required)
.Occupancy R-3

The 2-unit buildings are grouped around entry courtyards. The courtyards are placed along a street. The streets provide guest parking, landscaping and sidewalks leading to the entry courts.

I chose a more “modern” design using masses, recesses and color rather than sloped roofs and ornamentation. I think this is cheaper to build and looks better on a budget. Historical detailing can look thin when built, and is often stripped down to reduce costs.

The roofs are slightly sloping, simple to build and drain. They have parapets, low walls around the edges, to screen solar collectors. The parapets allow solar collectors to have the optimum orientation without being visually intrusive.

Freehand sketch-front elevation: I start with freehand sketches. I am trying to develop the look and feel of the buildings at this stage, in a quick way without worrying about the details. I am dealing with mass and shadow at this point, and some very basic ideas of using different colors on different masses.

Hardline elevations-front, left, interior front:
Once I have an approach, some ideas about how the building will look and how the different pieces (windows, doors, corners, roofs) come together, I get a little more accurate. The end buildings, those located next to the streets, are visible on three sides, each of which needs attention. The interior buildings, those reached and seen only from the entry courts, are visible only on one side. Shown here are 2 sides of an end building and one side of an interior building.

Model elevationsfront,, left, interior: As a hint about the next posting, I created a 3D model. This shows the same elevations, as seem within the model.

Next article: Making a 3D model of the design

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