3313 Beall receives AIA Dallas Jury Commendation!

3313 Beall Street, bcWORKSHOP’s first completed sustainABLEhouse in the Dolphin Heights neighborhood, received a jury commendation from the 2013 AIA Dallas Built Design Awards in recognition of outstanding architectural design and achievement. Jennifer Mayfield of bcWORKSHOP was present to accept the award at the Dallas Museum of Art on October 9th. Juror comments included:

It is important to never lose sight of the social obligation that we have to frame architecture for the public...To have a group of people who are working diligently to create something that would make housing available, to include an extensive participation process, I think is of great importance, and is something we should all be proud of and encourage here in Dallas. I think we have a worldwide problem with housing and this is one way that we can address it successfully.
— Dan Rockhill, of Studio 804 at the University of Kansas

New sAh Underway

Read about other sustainABLEhouse projects.

Construction drawings have been completed for the first client-driven sustainABLEhouse in Dallas. The client, an 81 year old resident of the Frazier and Bertrand neighborhoods, was brought to the bcWORKSHOP through a partnership with Frazier Revitalization Inc.  FRI enlisted bcW to provide the engagement + design services for the new 750 sf home and its wooded site just blocks from the client's existing home of 29 years.

Engagement + design occurred onsite and at the client's current home over a three week period in July 2013. The client responded very well to the design process, eagerly filling out the initial homework assignment following the first meeting, to help bcW understand his family structure, how he uses his current home, and any specific needs that the forthcoming design could help address.  In subsequent design meetings, the client was whole-heartedly engaged and his growing excitement was clear. Throughout the process, the client was very attentive to considerations such as durability, maintenance, functionality, and budget.  After participating in the design process, the resulting home design will be one that is most suited for the client's personal and family needs.

Over the course of the month, a design was developed that reflects the client's family-focused life and love for his wooded site. The home will sit gently on the site behind an enormous pecan tree and among a mixture of a dozen established bois d'arc and hackberry trees.  A small open porch at the front of the home will greet the street, originally designed at the client's request to host his frequent domino matches. Since design has begun, however, this porch has shifted to become the "card porch" as client's gaming taste has changed (according to the doctor, playing dominoes gives him high blood pressure). The "L" shaped home will wrap around a fenced backyard where the client's grandchildren will be able to safely play away from the street, while additional family members gather in the wide open living, dining, and kitchen space.

Bidding for the construction of the home will now ensue and construction will follow. The goal is to have the client in his new home by the end of the year.

3313 Beall Complete

Learn more about sustainABLEhouse.

The completed house at 3313 Beall Street.
The completed house at 3313 Beall Street.

The construction of the first sustainABLEhouse in Dallas is complete!  The home is located at 3313 Beall Street, in the heart of the Dolphin Heights neighborhood.  After a three and a half month build, the house is now for sale.  Contact Helen Gonzales Crawford of Better Lifestyles Real Estate at (214)324-2497 if you are interested in purchasing the house.

Construction began at the end of October 2012.
Construction began at the end of October 2012.
Residents choose the cladding for the house.
Residents choose the cladding for the house.
Preparing hardscape
Preparing hardscape
Over the three and a half month construction period, the house saw 277 visits from Dolphin Heights neighbors, the Belay House after school program kids, and the greater Dallas community.
Over the three and a half month construction period, the house saw 277 visits from Dolphin Heights neighbors, the Belay House after school program kids, and the greater Dallas community.
Open House on February 23, 2013.
Open House on February 23, 2013.

sustainABLEhouse Under Construction

Learn more about sustainABLEhouse, and our work in Dallas and the RGV.


bcWORKSHOP is engaging in design processes to build several sustainABLEhouses in two diverse settings: Cameron County in the Rio Grande Valley and the Dolphin Heights neighborhood in Dallas.  Given the highly adaptable process of sustainABLEhouse, each setting provides a unique exploration of how the WORKSHOP can collaborate with partner families to design and build healthy, affordable homes.

Cameron County, Texas

  • In partnership with CDCB through their Colonia Redevelopment Program, eight families are engaging in the design and construction process across four different neighborhoods.
  • Each home conforms to basic design standards set forth by the Colonia Redevelopment Program and further shaped by input of the future residents through five meetings and ‘homework’ assignments.
  • The four homes average 864 square feet and accommodate an average family size of 2.5 people.
  • Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2013.

Dolphin Heights, Dallas, TX

  • This home serves as the 1st application of the initiative in the Dolphin Heights neighborhood.
  • Extensive community involvement and educational activities ensure that neighborhood voices are heard and contribute to the design.
  • This home, designed to meet rigorous energy standards, is 850 square feet and includes 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, large porch space, and the ability to expand the house in the future.
  • Construction is expected to be complete in December 2012 and we are currently seeking a homeowner partner. Contact us at 214.252.2900 for more details.

Launching our sustainABLEhouse Initiative

Watch for future posts about sustainABLEhouse.

In 2006 we convened a conversation about housing in Dallas and challenged the current thinking to engage design as the tool to bring about methods and solutions addressing equity in our city. The title of those conversations was sustainABLEhouse.

bcFELLOW Jesse Miller  surveys potentials lots with client.

bcFELLOW Jesse Miller surveys potentials lots with client.

Echoing that great dialogue, we have created under the same name an effort to provide design services to any family that wants to build and own an affordable and efficient home within the central neighborhoods of Dallas.  This work is defined by the financial interests of the family with bcWORKSHOP willing to take on any budget no matter how modest. sustainABLEhouse is an effort engaging families normally outside traditional ownership choices in our city. While upfront budgets drive the program, we will not stop there.  Specific consideration will be directed toward the life-cycle costing of the home with design crafting a durable and energy efficient house supporting the financial interests of the family.

This work is in direct response to the estimated 30,000 plus affordable homes that are still needed in Dallas (Mayor’s Task Force on Affordable Housing). The success of sustainABLEhouse is not marked solely on affordability; rather, it is driven by a set of principles specific to Dallas: enhance neighborhood vitality; practice environmental sustainability; increase market capacity of affordable housing; influence perceptions and practices of affordable housing; promote intelligent and informed financing; and design for beauty, scale, and adaptability. The design of each sustainABLEhouse is a participatory process with the client and their neighborhood ensuring needs and opportunities are being identified and addressed.

The role of bcWORKSHOP at the beginning of a sustainABLEhouse is to work with the client to define and agree on the tasks that need to be completed, when they need to be completed, and who will take on the necessary responsibilities. Early tasks include selecting a property, which bcWORKSHOP and the client work on together, and securing financing, which the client is responsible for. bcWORKSHOP and the client continue the process well after the home is completed by participating in home performance testing.

Infographic that demonstrates the design process.

Infographic that demonstrates the design process.

sustainABLEhouse - 2006 Symposium

The following is taken from the 2006 sustainABLEhouse program.  The event, presented by the bcWORKSHOP in partnership with the Dallas Architecture Forum was one of the first activities we did. Enjoy this look back.


In 1996, the Carnegie Foundation in their report, Building Community, asked the question:

“Will U.S. cities be centers of civilization or decay, and will American children inherit a wholesome physical environment that promotes heath and prosperity?”

Buildings provide a framework for daily life and reflect values of cities in which people live. In 2005, only 2% of homebuyers worked with an architect and if Dallasites are going to meet the demands of growing urban areas and provide quality affordable housing, then architects, planners, builders, and residents must engage a new way of architectural practice.

Over the next twenty-five years, North Texas will grow by more than 4 million people, and according to The City of Dallas Mayor’s Task Force on Affordable Housing, there is a current need for over 30,000 new homes. The way in which Dallas builds to meet this demand must be reevaluated to provide all individuals with healthy, sustainable living communities.

The first in a series of conversations, sustainABLEhouse will engage individuals in relevant discussion about building affordable housing for the citizens of Dallas. The assembled group of architects, builders, planners, developers, city officials, and activists will examine national best practices and local opportunities for achieving social and economic benefits through community design practices. Panelists and topics for this symposium include:

National Best Practices, with Michael Pyatok, FAIA, affordable housing architect based in Oakland, California and principal of Pyatok Architects, Alexander Garvin, urban planner, developer, and consultant of the national firm Alex Garvin & Associates, Rick Lowe, artist, activist, and founder of Project Row Houses in Houston, Texas, and moderated by Donald Gatzke, Dean of the School of Architecture at University of Texas at Arlington.

Community Design, with Scott Ball, architect and President of the Association for Community Design Brent A. Brown, Dallas architect and founder of bcWORKSHOP.

Local Opportunities, with Hank Lawson, executive director of SouthFair Community Development Corporation, John Greenan, executive director of Central Dallas Community Development Corporation, and moderated by W. Mark Gunderson, Fort Worth architect, educator, and critic.