Spec House
Ponce Architecture

From the Jury:

This project explores something humans have been doing since the beginning of existence. It tells a story of the house, how it starts with the typical layout from the developer and then transforms — through the use of the spaces more than the architecture. There’s a very historical distinction between the house and the home: The house becomes the way we live inside those walls. There’s a strong, visible choice, an argument about how we live and transform those spaces.

An examination of residential development in Houston reveals open floor plans with secondary rooms that bear little or no resemblance to primary spaces, leaving little opportunity for improvisation. By combining the primary and secondary rooms into one, Spec House allows multiple unrelated activities to take place within a single volume. The project explores everyday programs for a modern, work-live family of four, proposing a new model that works harder to accommodate the ever-increasing demands of current technology.

A thickened concrete wall serves as structure, enclosure, and program, bending where live-work activities overlap. A secondary wall, made up of vegetation, wraps around the home and notches through the interior volumes; trees and overhangs diffuse natural light while shielding the most active areas from direct sun exposure. Catch-all volumes extend outdoors via large glazed openings. These areas are raised above ground for natural ventilation in the hot, humid climate. Cool, dry ventilated air travels up through the home, with moist stale air escaping through operable windows on the roof.

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