Expanding RAPIDO for Gulf Coast Recovery

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We are excited to report on our progress in bringing the RAPIDO model of temporary-to-permanent housing to families affected by Hurricane Harvey. 

On July 26, the first RAPIDO Core unit in Houston opened its doors to visitors and stakeholders. Also in attendance was the family who will call the Core home. On September 20, the family moved into the first RAPIDO Core in the city of Houston, TX. The family will remain there throughout construction of the Expansion, transforming the temporary Core unit into a permanent three-bedroom home. Construction on the expansion began in October.

Our efforts have also included design for RAPIDO Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), which can act as temporary housing during the home repair process, and then provide a source of extra income as a rental unit after reconstruction.

The design and partnership work with Covenant Community Capital and Texas Housers to realize RAPIDO units in Houston was supported by funding partnership with Enterprise Community Partners.

We are excited to announce that we are working to design and build 15 RAPIDO Core Units in Gulf Coast communities through a new grant from the Rebuild Texas Fund. Through this grant, we are also conducting research and development for mass production of RAPIDO Cores. This will serve 15 additional families affected by the storm, while also advancing progress toward the mass production of RAPIDO Cores.

DC Public Library Fab Lab Pop-Up at NoMa Now Open

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Read more about the Fab Lab here.

[bc] believes in the public library's critical role as a hub for democracy. We are excited to support the DC Public Library in extending services into neighborhoods, expanding services to facilitate the work of makers, and fostering community spaces for individuals to utilize their hands and access the tools to shape the future of their cities. 

In June, the DC Public Library NoMa fabrication lab ("fab lab") pop-up officially opened! The completion of this shipping container-turned-makerspace, which houses maker equipment and easily adjustable work stations, was celebrated with an opening event on June 17, attended by the project partners.

Attendees were free to roam around the courtyard and inside the container, and to enjoy the interior craftsmanship of custom-designed maker walls and furniture and the mural on all sides of the containers. Even the tops of the containers were painted, viewable from the surrounding tall buildings.

Following the tour and open house, Executive Director of the DC Public Library, Richard Reyes-Gavilan gave a closing thank you to all partners. Reyes-Gavilan spoke about the programming and new perspective public libraries can offer, noting, "Libraries are more than just books."

The Public Library has already started hosting free DIY classes and workshops. You can learn more about upcoming events at the Fab Lab Pop-Up at NOMA on the DC Public Library website here. More information about the Fab Lab and Pop-Up can be found here. 

Thanks to all of our partners and volunteers who assisted with this project!

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Construction Underway on Tangelo Quarters

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Tangelo Quarters, a housing development comprised of 18 single-family units, is currently under construction. Framing for the first five units has begun, and foundations for four others have been poured. 

When complete, Tangelo Quarters will provide affordable, contextually-appropriate housing for 18 families in Brownsville, TX. The site will feature a range of community amenities, such as a community garden, for residents to enjoy together. The project meets density goals while preserving individual identities of homes and fitting in with the existing neighborhood. 

We look forward to continuing work with our partners on this project, the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville (CDCB) and the Housing Authority of the City of Brownsville (HACB) and to seeing the project's completion in 2019. 

New Home Development Program in Acres Homes

On September 4, the City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department broke ground on 8 homes in the Acres Homes neighborhood that were designed by [bc] as part of the New Home Development Program. Drawing from the engagement done as a part of the City of Houston's Disaster Recovery Round 2, the designs were updated to improve resiliency and accessibility. [bc] staff were in attendance for the event, in addition to Mayor Sylvester Turner and representatives from HCDD.

Check out our photos from the event below!

Macon Starks Update

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The Macon Starks project is a housing development at the intersection of Macon and Starks Streets in the Bonton neighborhood. This housing project, which began a couple years ago, was met with a few delays along the way, but we are pleased to announce that the five senior housing units have been built and all are currently occupied. This project is a partnership between East Dallas Community Organization and [bc].

The units are a mix of duplex and single family dwellings centered around a communal garden space with raised planter beds. We look forward to advancing our design practice through different housing typologies serving the various populations of our cities.

Rapido CORE Accessory Dwelling Unit

We have developed a series of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), exploring different outdoor design layouts that allow for adaptation and flexibility of placement in multiple lot configurations. All of our ADU designs utilize [bc]'s RAPIDO CORE, a disaster recovery housing modular unit, designed for durable and fast rehousing post disaster.  Check out more information about this initiative and the details for each ADU design option at [bc]'s People's Design Library.

There are many reasons a property owner would want to invest in a RAPIDO ADU: disaster preparedness, temporary housing during repairs or reconstruction, increase affordable units in the city and provide extra income to homeowners.  

These structures can be built quickly using standard materials and construction methods and are designed on raised platforms in order to avoid damage from flooding. A RAPIDO ADU can also be used as a safe house during a storm, especially if your home sustains serious damage. Because RAPIDO COREs can be built quickly,  the ADU can act as temporary housing and allow homeowners whose houses are in need of repairs to remain on their property while their home is repaired or rebuilt. ADUs are also often rented out to individuals, and this extra structure can give the homeowner an extra source of income once they have returned to their repaired home. 

sustainABLEhouse Model Home in Corpus Under Construction

Learn more about sAh Corpus Christi here!

[bc] and the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville (CDCB) have partnered to bring the sustainABLEhouse model of single-family affordable housing development to the city of Corpus Christi in order to provide housing choice to residents of the Hillcrest and Washington Coles neighborhoods who have been impacted by the Harbor Bridge reconstruction project and offered to participate in a voluntary relocation program managed by the Port Authority and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

Construction is now underway on a model home at 2517 Persimmon St. The model home will provide a tangible example for Corpus Christi residents of the quality of sustainABLEhouse homes, demonstrating the possibilities of custom-designed affordable housing. sustainABLEhouse works to combat the stigma around affordable housing, proving that affordability does not have to mean a lack of choice or quality, as it often does for many. The model home will show families how they can customize their design to achieve the kind of home that they want, or even model a new home on their previous one.  sustainABLEhouse will provide residents with homes that meet their preferences and are durable and efficient. 

We are excited to bring sustainABLEhouse to this new geography and to serve residents of Corpus Christi with customized affordable homes that suit their needs and their budgets. 

RAPIDO in Houston

With the support of a funding partnership with Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., [bc] is working to bring the RAPIDO model to Houston, working with families affected by Hurricane Harvey in collaboration with Texas Low Income Housing Information Service and Covenant Community Capital

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We've worked to adapt RAPIDO's temporary-to-permanent housing model for this new geography and have designed a temporary-to-permanent unit for a family. RAPIDO’s housing model deploys a temporary CORE unit to family’s property weeks after a disaster, which can be expanded into a permanent home through a system of semi-custom designed additions. The purpose of the RAPIDO CORE is to bridge the gap between relief and recovery housing and provide a pathway to meet long-term family needs and preferences.

Our first RAPIDO prototype in Houston will provide the process and the means for a Houston family to become homeowners and allow us to pilot RAPIDO in Houston.

We're also working to design and build an Accessory Dwelling Unit prototype (ADU), which will pilot additional possibilities for post-disaster housing and pre-disaster planning. After a disaster, RAPIDO's ADU allows homeowners whose houses are in need of repairs to remain on their property while the repairs are made. After the homeowner moves back into their primary home, the ADU can be rented out as affordable housing, providing an extra income. The RAPIDO ADU unit can also play a role pre-disaster by providing a safe space on a homeowner's property.

Check out photos below!

Community Engagement Recap

Community Meeting

[bc] partnered with the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville to host the first community engagement meeting with residents from Corpus Christi on September 18th. This process was prompted after the Port of Corpus Christi announced a voluntary relocation program for the neighborhoods of Hillcrest and Washington-Coles.The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the two organizations to Corpus Christi, which was looking for affordable housing options. We also wanted to learn what housing preferences the local residents wished to live in.

With this is mind, [bc] put together a few activities to learn more about the housing preferences. The residents were asked to fill out a survey that included questions framed around their desired neighborhood characteristics, the preferred housing attributes, and the nearby amenities they wished to live close to.

After a night of conversations and participating, the meeting finished with responses and answers that would be used to further the design process. The next step was to create a community workshop that focused more specifically on the individual housing and locational preferences for each resident.

 

Community Workshop

On September 30th, [bc] again paired with Community Development Corporation of Brownsville to host an interactive community workshop session. This session was focused around the individual housing and locational preferences of each residents. This was done by separating the residents into two groups; one that wanted to move together as a community and the other that was interested in finding land that fit their family's needs.

The residents that wished to move together went through an activity to construct their ideal neighborhood. The residents used blocks and paper to compose an example section of their future neighborhood. The elements were based off of the original nearby elements chosen the meeting before. This activity allowed the residents to understand how the design of a neighborhood begins.

The residents that wished to move as individuals participated in a sticker activity that had them layout their existing home and compare it to what they would like to see in their new home. Deciding among room arrangements and architectural elements allowed each participate to have a say in how their house would get designed.

The next step in the design process is to work with our partners at CDCB to address the locational preferences and begin schematic design.


 

Focus Group

On November 18th, the residents of Corpus Christi came to a focus group geared toward progressing residents in the design process. The main objective of the meeting was to understand the locational preferences of Corpus Christi. [bc] and CDCB put together different areas of the city in order to best understand where the residents wanted to move.

The residents and [bc] employees had conversations about various housing locations within Corpus Christi. Afterwards, a general consensus is going to allow [bc] and CDCB to find land within the city to begin the construction design process with the focus group residents.

Currently, individual design meetings are being scheduled as equitable land becomes available.

Understanding Housing Needs and Preferences in Corpus Christi

Corpus is a new geography for us and we recognize that we understand the social, economic, and environmental issues facing a community before beginning work. The Hillcrest and Washington Coles community had already started a relocation process that started 2 years ago. Even though the program is voluntary the residents are facing a difficult decision between staying in an environmentally hazardous area, which will be affected by the relocation of a major infrastructure project or participating and having limited choice. During our discovery phase we focused our efforts in understanding the state of housing and the different actors in the housing community.

Last month, [bc] in partnership with CDCB started engaging Corpus Christi’s residents and stakeholders through [2] events: a community meeting that served as an informing and listening session; and a Housing Workshop designed to understand current housing conditions and desires from and individual and neighborhood perspective.

Pre-Construction Clean-Up at 1208 E. 10th Street

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[bc] received a Safety Grant from Texas Mutual to support our purchase of ergonomic office equipment and safety equipment to keep our staff safe at the Tenth Street Neighborhood Resource Center construction site. 

In the Tenth Street neighborhood—one of the last remaining and perhaps the most intact of Dallas's historic Freedmen's Towns—we’re working with residents to help build local capacity.  We're renovating a historic home at 1208 E. 10th Street to serve as a Neighborhood Resource Center.  When completed, it will become a repository for essential resources, a site for activities that promote technical learning among residents and strengthen community cohesion, and a residence for a [bc] architectural designer who will hold open office hours to assist the community with technical advice.

The Neighborhood Resource Center will support residents in their efforts to address the pressing issues they've identified in their community, such as vacancy, redevelopment pressures, and the disrepair of historic homes in the neighborhood.  

In preparation for construction activities, [bc] and community members visited the property to conduct preliminary site clean-up.  Activities included leaf-raking, trash pick-up, and bamboo and brush clearing.  Check out the photos below!

Staff benefitted from the use of coveralls, safety glasses, gloves, ear protection, and hardhats purchased through Texas Mutual's generous grant.  We're so grateful for this support!

[bc] is grateful to all those who have provided support for the Tenth Street Neighborhood Resource Center: The Real Estate Council Foundation, The Dorothea L. Leonhardt Foundation, Inc., the Hillcrest Foundation, the Hoblitzelle Foundation, and Bank of America

Casitas Los Olmos is finished!

Learn more about our Making work!

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Casitas Los Olmos, completed in October 2017, is a neighborhood of 80 single family rental units and six community amenity structures where families can thrive and have a sense of ownership of where they live.  Porches create spaces to enjoy the outdoors, shaded windows help keep the hot sun out, and energy and water efficient construction help keep utility bills low. Each home has parking spaces immediately adjacent to the front door.

The 8.72 acre site incorporates low impact development (LID) strategies such as bioswales, partially permeable driveways, and native landscaping to filter and absorb as much stormwater on site as possible. Community amenity structures (including leasing offices, a learning center, a community space with a prep kitchen, a BBQ pavilion, mail kiosk, laundry and playground) define the larger public green areas. Steel roofs encompass the amenity structures and provide large shaded areas for comfortable gathering and play areas. The shade structures take a cue from Raymondville’s agricultural history. 

From the project's inception, the design team challenged itself to create a place that engages residents and engenders a sense of community. The neighborhood was developed via a community engaged design process, resulting in a collection of sequential green spaces, varying in scale from pocket neighborhood areas to community greens. The integration of pedestrian paths allow residents to move throughout these spaces of gathering and play. 

Expanding Choice in Affordable Housing

Learn more about sustainABLEhouse, and our sAh RGV work.

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sustainABLEhouse utilizes design as a tool to address issues of equity within the Lower Rio Grande Valley by providing affordable single-family housing that is durable, efficient, contextually appropriate, and community & resident informed.

The sustainABLEhouse design process is broken down into simple steps so that a family can confidently make decisions about their home. The design of each home begins with a family filling out a Design Starts Here homework booklet. The simple questions in the homework helps a family think about the factors that will go into the design of their home. [bc] staff meet the family at their property and together measure the property to fully understand how to work with existing infrastructure, trees, and other important factors. This interactive early step helps to build trust between [bc] and the family, an important part of the sustainABLEhouse process.

Since beginning sustainABLEhouse in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in late 2012, [bc] has worked with Community Development Corporation of Brownsville to build homes with 63 families. Each of the families designed their home via a custom design process, or via a customizable catalog process. You can watch a short film documenting our process here!

sustainABLEhouse has fit into four different funding programs and sources in the LRGV. Three of these programs are administered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) - Colonia Self Help Center, HOME Homeowner Rehabilitation Assistance, HOME Persons With Disability, and the City of Brownsville’s HOME Homeowner Rehabilitation Assistance program.

sustainABLEhouse acts on the belief that choice empowers, and a home designed by the family that lives in it will work better for that family, and help to maintain and build viable neighborhoods.

The Cottages Win AIA Design Award

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AIA Dallas has announced its 2017 Design Award recipients, including the Cottages at Hickory Crossing. 

The Cottages at Hickory Crossing were completed at the end of February of 2017, and is now home to 50 residents. Located on a three-acre site less than a half-mile from downtown, the Cottages at Hickory Crossing provides permanent supportive housing and support services for the fifty most chronic cases of homelessness in Dallas. The integration of thoughtful design and robust services become a comprehensive approach to overcoming the chronic challenges residents face. To best understand the needs of future residents and service providers, the pre-design process included a combination of research, focus group charrettes, and a comprehensive engagement of stakeholders in the decision-making process. 

The design is comprised of fifty, 430-square-foot cottage residences. Individual homes encourage stronger personal identity while promoting a sense of community for residents. Homes are arranged in clusters of 6-8 units to create semi-public spaces or “micro-neighborhoods”.  The 4,000-square-foot support-services building is a series of small buildings under one “porch” roof. While this building forms an urban edge at the street, it maintains a level of porosity for ease of access by residents. A series of courtyards and a common green provide flexible space for activities, from urban farming to outdoor recreation, encouraging interaction between neighbors. 

The project seeks to serve as a model for sustainable urban living by maximizing open space, incorporating on-site rainwater collection and community garden space. LEED for Homes Platinum certification is expected to be completed in early 2018.

Beyond housing, the “wrap-around services” model and its architectural responses work to break the chronic challenges that residents face. 54 formerly homeless individuals living in permanent supporting housing facilities or shelters participated in a series of focus groups during the design process. Through collaboration with support services professionals and homeless individuals, the proposed design is an alternative typology that employs small and efficient individual homes for each resident. Transitional exterior spaces enable one to navigate through varying spatial experiences, from the more secluded porch to the shared courtyard, before reaching the common green.

Project Partners

CitySquare Housing
Communities Foundation of Texas
Caruth Foundation
City Square Housing
Metrocare Services
Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance
Dallas County
UT Southwestern

 

Project Consultants

Permitted Development
Henley Johnston & Associates
Design & Construction Solutions, LLC
Kadleck Associates
MEP Systems
Hocker Design Group
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Dallas Designer Social: Creating a Neighborhood Cultural Hub

Learn more about our work in Dallas!

How do you transform a shopping center into a cultural hub for it's neighborhood?

Focused on education and fostering entrepreneurship in the community, For Oak Cliff is getting its start in the Glendale Shopping Center in South Oak Cliff. Their vision is to foster a community space that inspires and energizes the residents in the area. With the goal of improving their new retail/office space to better achieve this vision, [bc] invited a group of local designers for a Designer Social event to develop concepts and schematic designs both inside For Oak Cliff's office space and around the shopping center as a whole. 

Check out these photos from the Designer Social:

Disaster Recovery Round 2

See more posts about Disaster Recovery Round 2 here!

Disaster Recovery Round 2 has nearly come to an end, over 240 homes have been built to date across 6 neighborhoods throughout the city of Houston. In August the program was extended with an additional 44 homes. [bc] has met with 33 of those homeowners to select their new homes, 21 home designs have been submitted for permit to date. 

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10th Street: Construction Set To Begin

The 10th Street house is a small-scale rehabilitation project on an existing house in the historic 10th Street District, one of the few remaining freedmen's towns left in Dallas. The rehabilitation efforts to the existing house will be minimal and true to the original structure, honoring the history of the neighborhood, and original aesthetic of the home. Construction is set to begin at the beginning of 2017. Once complete the home will be a community design hub for the neighborhood.

Macon Starks: The First Unit

Learn more about Macon Starks!

Macon Starks is a housing development which provides rental units for seniors in the ideal neighborhood. The project consists of new single family houses, duplexes, and the renovation of an existing single family home. The first unit under construction will be complete in January 2017.

 

South Boulevard Update

Learn more about South Boulevard

South Boulevard, the four new town homes located in the Jeffries-Meyers neighborhood of South Dallas are currently for sale. The project has been permitted and construction will be underway early 2017