Rice Architecture Construct
[Assistant Professor and Co-Director: Andrew Colopy; Students: Francis Aguillard, Claire Chalifour, Hillary Davlin, Seth Defore, Jordan Gracia, Rachel Grady, George Hewitt, Younha Kim, Haotian Ma, Micah Piven, Lauren Turnage, Jiaxing Yan]

From the Jury:

The project feels proactive… like it’s looking at an existing condition and trying to adapt it towards the future, addressing densification. The whole accessory dwelling acknowledges that family sizes are not fixed; they’re expanding, contracting, and the project allows that flexibility of living.

Accessory dwellings — garage apartments, granny flats, backyard homes — are part of a growing national dialogue. Amid rising housing costs, demographic changes, and the need for sustainability, these dwellings can provide affordable rental housing and increase urban density while maintaining the existing fabric of neighborhoods. 

The accessory dwelling does pose challenges. Smaller spaces and tighter quarters test our cultural norms of comfort and privacy. Hidden away, they struggle to participate in the public sphere. And, they can’t provide the economic benefits of homeownership or the same efficiencies of conventionally constructed, mass-produced homes. 

Accessory is a research project to create new typologies for Houston that bring these dwellings out of the backyard and into the public sphere. Illustrated are three speculative proposals with a distinct visual presence — a counterpoint to the neighboring bungalows — that encourage a community of interactions through a network of shared spaces. 

Thinking beyond the limits of any single structure, students developed adaptive digital models responsive to 35 different sites while establishing an economy of scale through an automated but nonstandard, digitally fabricated envelope design. The result is a neighborhood of buildings, collective in their diversity as much as in their common cause.

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