Architecture Students Design Sustainable Low-Income Homes That Can Be Built for $20K

The architecture students at Auburn University's Rural Studio prove that well-designed homes can still be affordable, thanks to their initiative called the 20K Project. The undergraduate program advocates for social justice through architecture, and to demonstrate this, students have created sustainable and low-cost dwellings for the rural poor. After a decade of design and build experience, Rural Studio is hoping to take their structures to mass production–starting with its first two homes built at the New Urban village of Serenbe, located in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia.

The homes built by Rural Studio are modest, but provide valuable independence for low-income individuals and families. Each structure is a one bedroom/one bathroom detached dwelling that measures around 500 square feet. Clad in corrugated metal and timber, they are elevated on piers and designed with passive heating and cooling in order to keep the utility costs low. One home can be built for $20,000 (hence the project name), which is considered affordable for potential homeowners living on Social Security and are unable to qualify for commercial credit.

Rural Studio has entered into a mutually-beneficial partnership with Serenbe, a high-end community. Although the two seem like unlikely collaborators, the Serenbe's land offers the students a place to test their 20K Project in real-world situations. They are given their first chance to work with a commercial contractor and see the project through construction, zoning, and code compliance–all the way to completion. In return, Serenbe's Art Farm now has two live/work studios that they use as housing for their artists residency program.

Rural Studio: Website | Facebook
via [Inhabitat]

All images via Sunshine Sachs.

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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