Incredible news! While we’ve been known this for weeks now (and been working towards the product), it was officially announced this week. We were awarded a grant from the national AIA (officially the 2012 AIA Innovation and Practice in House Design Research Grant) in the amount of $7,000 that will fund further research into the future viability of the InHouse.
This grant will allow us to create a prospectus – a manifesto if you will — for the OutHouse moving forward. This will involve (as per our grant request) determining how to redistribute the projected savings to better quality and design, and how to use them more effectively in affordable housing situations. In order to test this, we will research site-built equivalents to the OutHouse. In addition we will work with local contractors to bid the project, allowing for direct comparison to our prototype figures.
We’re also very interested in exploring how this idea of large-scale production might impact the typical role of the small-scale design firm and to what extent might this increase the agency of such a firm. We will research a number of firms working in this way along with others that have avoided it to have productive comparisons.
We hope that at a larger scale (that of the AIA and the entire practice of architecture), this research and the OutHouse in general will serve as a case study to demonstrate the fusion of design/build, applied research, and community oriented design. To this end, we will be producing a publication documenting our findings as well as the results of our prototype.
Through the grant, the AIA has also invited us to speak about the project at the national AIA convention in Denver next year and we have tentatively partnered with both Lake Flato Architects (Associate Bill Aylor as the contributor) and BLU Homes (Vice President of Design and Creative Director Karl Daubmann as the contributor) for the presentation we are proposing. More news on that as it evolves.
Bob strikes again!! Thanks to Mr. Fleming suggesting our story to Leah Thayer, an article was written about the OutHouse on Leah’s daily5remodel.com website. The website, “is for remodeling professionals…within the industry, including remodeling contractors, designers and architects, specialized trade contractors, real estate brokers, home builders, manufacturers, consultants, building arts educators, policymakers and more.”
We’re thrilled to be part of that group on a few levels, and even more excited that Leah found our concept intriguing enough to write a piece about. The piece is very well written and centers on where the idea truly emerged from: a father-son relationship. While obviously the product of the three of us (not to mention Danny, Nonya, and dozens of students), without that little Lego tycoon (read: Jason Fleming) demanding his employer (read: Bob Fleming) pay him for his work in commodities (read: Legos) we may never have even gotten to this point.
While Jason is slightly embarrassed that the article focuses on that relationship, we think it’s a great tale and certainly one we all aspire to as future fathers with our future children.
Many thanks to Mr. Fleming for recommending the article, Leah Thayer for recognizing the project’s potential, and the multiple commenters who have had insight on the project.
If our donations from Ferguson weren’t enough, we got great news today about our lighting package.
We had kicked around a bunch of ideas (small under cabinet lighting, rope light in the clerestory cavity, various configurations and specifications, etc.) but we had no idea how to actually tackle this side of the project. Enter Hafele America Co.
As architects, we’ve obviously always been seduced by their amazing hardware (specifically the barn door system for me). But we had no idea that they had ventured into LED lighting, offering both their own lines as well as supplying other manufacturers. As luck would have it, we were connected with Jodie Yake, the Architectural Sales Manager for the South Central United States. Not only was he excited about the project and all it’s possibilities, but he saw the potential for a continued relationship on a much larger scale (one that we are excited about as well).
After a number of discussions and an in person meeting, we settled on a series of “puck” downlights as under cabinet lighting, linear light in a channel for above the sink and the desk, linear light for the clerestory cavity as “mood lighting”, and a “puck” downlight above the toilet. Jodie conferred with his Product Manager and they were able to offer us a FULL DONATION!! This is going to save us a great deal of funds and will be easy for our electricians to work with given it’s low wattage. Not to mention the energy savings for the new tenant.
We think this is going to be a winning combination, not to mention look incredible. I can’t wait to photograph (and share) the images of the OutHouse with this lighting installed. Stay tuned! Also check out the LOOX line we will be using.
As we messed around with various plywood settings on our (somewhat broken) CNC machine, we got a meeting set up with Ferguson, a national plumbing, bathroom, and kitchen retailer.
Thanks to Jason’s father’s connections in the South Carolina area, Janet Wall set us up with Jim Hoopaugh in our neighborhood Ferguson store on Richmond Ave. here in Houston.
We immediately hit it off in our meeting. They understood (and were excited about) the project and eager to help. After discussing what we’d currently had specified and what they were able to offer us, we edited our list accordingly.
After about a week, Jim let us know that Ferguson’s would be donating ALL of our kitchen and bathroom plumbing needs from the brand Mirabelle! This included toilet, bathroom sink, kitchen sink, bathtub, faucets, drains, towel bar, paper bar, and bathroom sconces. To make the pot even sweeter, Jim was able to negotiate a deal with his supplier for a 50% discount on all of our Bosch appliances (oven, stove, hood) and a price break on our Bradford water heater.
Pretty amazing contributions and we’re ecstatic about them! Mirabelle and Bosch are incredible fixtures and appliances and really create a major upgrade for the project. Thank you Jim and FERGUSON!
Since our project is difficult to actually label (is it a renovation, an addition, a mobile home, all three?), a few weeks ago, we went down to the Houston City Code Enforcement, in their brand new Downtown rehabbed warehouse building, and spoke with inspectors from the various departments to figure out how best to explain the project.
It must have worked because despite a false start (we forgot our survey on our first trip) we were able to breeze through the process in what must have been a record time. We opted for the “One Stop” method where if your project qualifies (generally size, scope of work, and building type), you can bounce between the various desks in a single day (or in our case two). It’s a great system to free projects up to move forward and to additionally free the city offices up so that they don’t have to do the paper pushing themselves over the course of the normal 3-6 week permitting process. Plus if you have corrections to make, you know right then. So what might have taken them a few weeks to tell us “we need an original survey,” we found out in a few hours.
Everybody wins, and we have a permit. All systems go!
We couldn’t be more thrilled to announce that we’ve received $5,000 from the Rice Design Alliance. We just missed the application last year, but were encouraged by advice from Linda Sylvan, Executive Director, who helped us connect with many organizations across Houston, including the ArCH Foundation, another of our generous supporters. The Rice School of Architecture Awards Ceremony was such a wonderful time to find out about this award and we are so appreciative for the consideration of this project!
We look forward to using these funds toward completion of our prototype. Construction should be under way within the next two weeks and we’ll have plenty of updates coming your way.
As we were researching IKEA, since we are after all specifying IKEA cabinets, sinks, faucets, and potentially appliances and countertops, we came across this video of the Project Row Houses, Young Mother’s Program home renovations. We knew IKEA had worked with PRH in the past, with great success, but we hadn’t seen this video yet. It’s a nice little piece and our friend, and Executive Director of PRH, Linda Shearer make an appearance and speaks to the impact this partnership has had on OutHouse’s favorite CDC. Enjoy the clip, and maybe in the near future there will be one with the OutHouse team and IKEA….here’s to that!!
It’s officially official. Even though we already had the framed award, it’s nice to see it up on the internet. Check out the other winners. As we mentioned, Peter is one of them. Rice professors cleaned up as well. Interloop Architecture won 3 awards, and Morris Architects, headed by my advisor, Doug Oliver, won 2. Congrats to all for some amazing work!
Well some wonderful news came our way last night. OutHouse was one of 4 projects awarded a AIA Houston Design Award for 2012 in the category of “On the Boards.” We never expected the honor, let alone that one of the other two projects was Peter’s thesis project for Houston “VeloCity” and that a third went to his advisor Mark Wamble’s firm Interloop, with Dawn Finley. Congrats to all!
We made a nice connection with the Editor-In-Chief of Metropolis magazine, a juror on for the Design Awards, who remarked, “It’s time for something like this that rethinks existing housing stock.” We agree!
Well the torrential weather this weekend has given us the incentive to wrap up a few OutHouse items. Peter is finalizing the permit drawings we plan to submit to the city this week. Jason is ironing out a few last wrinkles with the website. Andrew is putting together a submission package for a local grant we are applying for. Today it looks like all work and no play. Feels like we are back in studio! -pm
Today the article that Mike Williams wrote for Rice News went live. We’ve worked with Mike before and he always does a great job getting the word out about Rice initiated projects and programs. Hopefully when we get going with construction, he’ll be interested in filming a video of us on site. Fingers crossed.
Well we have no idea when this was posted, but we randomly saw that a photo of us with the model of the OutHouse was the header on the Texas Society of Architects webpage for Schools of Architecture in Texas. You’ll notice our Dean, Sarah Whiting, if you scroll down a bit sporting one of her many yellow scarves. WW likes yellow in case you were wondering.
The photo was taking last Fall when we presented the project to the new crop of RBW students. Wondering what my t-shirt is and why it’s so red? Well I can’t answer the latter, but to the former, “I’m Big on the Pig”…GO PIGGLY WIGGLY!!
We don’t fancy ourselves actors nor filmmakers, but we think this video gets the point across. Plus for a first attempt, not too shabby right? Help this thing go viral.
If the video inspires you to donate, by all means. At this point, we probably sound like a broken record, but donating is easy, fun, tax-deductible, and any amount (big or small) is greatly appreciated.
Thanks to Project Row Houses, we can finally say that we have a house for our prototype!! It’s obviously very exciting news and we can’t wait to get started and pop an OutHouse in there. In fact, we’ve rebranded in a way and termed the prototype the “InHouse” OutHouse. We like it so much that it just might stick for longer than just the prototype. Time will tell. In the meantime, check out our location on google maps.
As we get into the deep dark holes of our individual thesis work, banging our heads against the wall in a never-ending chorus, we keep getting great group news. Today Nonya and Danny informed us that RBW will be matching the ArCH Foundation Grant of $5,000 with $5,000 more in funding.
Currently we have $10,000 of our projected $25,000 – $30,000 budget. But YOU can still help us cover the gap. If you would like to contribute, visit our donation page. Whatever amount you can give is a huge help to us, and no amount is too small.
Rusty Benvienue, the Director of the Architecture Center Houston, gave us some wonderful news. We were awarded an ArCH Foundation Grant in the amount of $5,000 to help build the OutHouse. We’re on our way to getting this thing built. If you would like to contribute any amount, please visit out donation page. When we say any amount helps, we mean ANY amount ($50, $10, $5). Plus is super easy and tax-deductible through the RSA website. The more people we get involved in this, the easier it will be to get going, so help us out!!
After driving to Dallas, attending the TSA Convention, receiving our Studio Award, meeting Paul Lewis, and subsequently driving back, we’re naturally a little wiped. Anyway, here’s a photo from the event.
Apologies (or not) for the moustache. It’s for my costume as Ron Swanson. That’s right Pawneeans, the man, the myth, the legend. ”It’s OK. You had me at Meat Tornado.”
Oh, and by the way, Happy Halloween!!
Along with our TSA Award, an unexpected outcome was that OutHouse will be published in the Nov/Dec issue of Texas Architect. How cool is that? Plus, it’s a great opportunity to get the project out in front of a lot more eyes. If you want to see the piece, head to the link below to OutHouse featured on page 36-37. You can enlarge the virtual magazine by clicking on the image in the link. Happy reading!
Read the Article
While Houston continues its streak of 95 degree days with literally 0 precipitation and about 940395% humidity (only an estimate), Peter got some great news. It’s official, the OutHouse is now an award-winning project! We were awarded a Texas Society of Architects Studio Award. The team is incredibly excited as the jury was headed by Marlon Blackwell, who we all admire.
We’re hoping this is a sign of things to come!
At the Rice School of Architecture, there are 10 graduate option level studios every year and around 120 projects produced. Each studio professor nominates a project for the Margaret Everson Fossi Traveling Fellowship. The OutHouse was chosen as one of those 10 finalists.
We are honored that the project has been recognized along with some incredible projects from this year. OutHouse was by far the smallest coming in at its modest 96 sq. ft. The winning entry, from our friend and colleague Elena English, came in at a staggering 4,000,000 sq. ft. I think it’s safe to say that Rice students can do it all.
Oh, and by the way, Andrew was nominated for his natatorium project, The Domino Effect, from Doug Oliver’s studio, that combined bathing program with aquarium program to create a series of overlaps in experience. He was recognized with an Honorable Mention (ie. 4th Place). Not a bad week for Team OutHouse!