On Tuesday, May 14, fans of small, eco-friendly, affordable houses will get a chance to learn more about them. Back in October we took a look at a few of the modern, sustainable houses that were being dreamed up by architect and professor Brad Wales, along with his students in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo.
The “sun_food_water” house designs, part of the Small [Medium] Built Works Program, will now be showcased from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at 429 Plymouth Avenue at PUSH Buffalo’s School #77. The architectural plans will demonstrate that building sustainable housing is not only possible, it’s imperative. These unique new-build houses, ranging from 250 sq’ to 1226 sq’, can fit into smaller lots, while allowing owners to maximize upon the lot sizes.
While these structures might be on the smaller side, according to Wales, “They play big.” Each of the houses boasts full kitchens, full baths, multiple bedrooms, full basements, and wrap around porches. Each of the five prototypes incorporates efficient designs that can be built upon with “add alternates” in years to come, such as water collection systems and growing walls. The houses can literally grow with the owners, to achieve enhanced sustainability.
Not only do these houses look different, they perform differently. Wales says that these structures capitalize on intelligent site design, unlike many of the new builds that we see these days. He also notes that these are affordable houses, not because the materials are cheaper, but because they possess a lower square footage, which means that they are cost effective to operate – especially with added eco features. While the 250 sq.’ model does constitute a “tiny house”, there are larger versions to choose from, while sticking with the overall small scale (and big value). Wales points out that, while the houses might be on the smaller side, they are designed to create a sense of open spaciousness.
Over the years, Wales, via his private practice, has designed a number of small homes that were constructed in the city, and now he has brought that same methodology to his classroom – his students have come up with these new designs, all of which are nearly permit ready. In fact, one the models is already on its way towards being built at 91 Fuller Street in Tonawanda. Visitors to Tuesday’s Affordable House(s) Show can learn more about that model, and the others.
Due to the project’s involvement with the University at Buffalo, Wales says that he ultimately needs to work with Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and non-profits that understand the invaluable nature of the affordable homes. Already, he has teamed up with the Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corporation, which is one of the city’s land bank groups. Hopefully, that arrangement will lead to some of these affordable homes being built on the East Side, and other areas that could benefit from the construction of unique affordable housing.
The Affordable House(s) Show is open to the public on Tuesday, May 14, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at 429 Plymouth Avenue – PUSH Buffalo’s School #77.