Urban residence, Lawrence, Kan.
Studio 804, School of Architecture,University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kan.

"Looks like a bunch of friends got together and put something really unique together," the judges said. "It's a slam dunk." Indeed, the project offered 13 graduate students at the University of Kansas School of Architecture a chance to translate their classroom learning into a real building. Their goal? To provide an alternative to run-of-the-mill affordable housing by using quality design and workmanship and innovative materials.

With muscle power and ingenuity, the students made their own forms for concrete walls, countertops, and walkways, and salvaged steel from junkyards. They subbed out only the HVAC, plumbing, and electrical work. "It was important to me that we imbue this house with a design that reflects the technology available to us at the millennium," says professor Dan Rockhill. Manufacturers donated $23,000 worth of materials, including the house's skin of cement-fiber siding, and Lexan, a luminous, plastic-like surface the students used to extend the south wall.

"We've found that, many times, space that doesn't have a clear designation is taken over by the home's occupants in creative ways," Rockhill says. The house is owned by a single mother and her two young daughters, both of whom study dance and theater. The sunny bump-out, with its deep, continuous seat, has become their stage.

Project Architect: Dan Rockhill, Studio 804
General Contractor: Studio 804
Project Size: 1,330 square feet
Site Size: .13 acre
Construction Cost: $48 per square foot
Sales Price: $64,000
Photographer: Dan Rockhill