Launch Slideshow

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El Dorado's Habitat Prototype

El Dorado's Habitat Prototype

  • El Dorado's prototype house for Heartland Habitat for Humanity in Kansas City, Kan.

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    El Dorado's prototype house for Heartland Habitat for Humanity in Kansas City, Kan.

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    Courtesy El Dorado Inc.

    El Dorado's prototype house for Heartland Habitat for Humanity in Kansas City, Kan.

  • Volunteers are currently building the house, which should be completed in the spring of 2013.

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    Volunteers are currently building the house, which should be completed in the spring of 2013.

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    Josh Shelton AIA

    Volunteers are currently building the house, which should be completed in the spring of 2013.

  • To make the home easier and safer for the volunteers to build, El Dorado gave it a low roof pitch and specified pre-assembled wall components and trusses.

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    To make the home easier and safer for the volunteers to build, El Dorado gave it a low roof pitch and specified pre-assembled wall components and trusses.

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    Josh Shelton AIA

    To make the home easier and safer for the volunteers to build, El Dorado gave it a low roof pitch and specified pre-assembled wall components and trusses.

  • The firm emphasized outdoor living through spaces such as a front porch, a side patio, and a vegetable garden.

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    The firm emphasized outdoor living through spaces such as a front porch, a side patio, and a vegetable garden.

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    Courtesy El Dorado

    The firm emphasized outdoor living through spaces such as a front porch, a side patio, and a vegetable garden.

When Josh Shelton, AIA, and his partners at El Dorado teamed with Heartland Habitat for Humanity to design a residential prototype, they found the Kansas City, Kan.-based nonprofit to be an ideal collaborator. “They’re one of the most open-minded clients I’ve ever worked with,” Shelton says.

Another nonprofit, Public Architecture, connected Kansas City, Mo.–based El Dorado and Heartland Habitat as part of its 1% Habitat Initiative, which links Habitat chapters with innovative architects. El Dorado hoped to create an adaptable plan with inviting outdoor spaces, so the firm separated the garage from the house, inserting a covered breezeway between the buildings. A side patio and a front porch are connected by a vegetable garden. “A lot of the design was trying to get people to re-engage with the outdoors,” Shelton says. The house is slated for completion next spring.

Located in Kansas City, Kan., it occupies an alley-loaded site—but in the case of a front-loaded property, the garage and garden could switch places. And the breezeway could grow or shrink to accommodate a wider or narrower lot. A low roof pitch and shop-fabricated wall components and trusses make the house easier and safer to build, facilitating Habitat’s model of volunteer labor. Resource-efficient tactics such as rainwater harvesting, a rainscreen system, and a whole-house exhaust fan will lower utility bills.