DR2 Home Design

As a part of Round 2 of the City of Houston’s Disaster Recovery Program (DR2), the design team, led by bcWORKSHOP and supported by Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, Unabridged Architecture, and the University of Houston Community Design Resource Center, is working to deliver single family infill home designs. These designs will be used in constructing homes across the six CRA & Outreach Areas. The team is committed to delivering high-quality cost-effective sustainable designs that respect the communities interests and character while offering individual homeowner choice. In order to achieve this, the design team has developed an engagement process involving neighborhood residents, community leaders, and local design architects.

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DR2 | Focus Group Debrief

Community Focus Group

On February 16th, the design team welcomed neighborhood residents, community leaders, and local design architects to the Community Focus Group held in the Community Room and the Jayne Junkin’s Memorial Room at the Texas Organizing Project office in Houston. The focus groups reviewed preliminary schematic home designs. Participants spoke one-on-one with the local architects on each of over 30 designs that were presented to address comments, questions and concerns. Participant input informed the development of schematic home designs presented in the Gallery Show on February 27, 2014.

View Focus Group Debrief

DR2 | Gallery Show Debrief

On February 27th and March 4th the design team facilitated two Home Design Gallery Show exhibitions of the preliminary home designs. These exhibitions displayed the results of the collaborative design process with CRA & Outreach Area neighborhood residents, community leaders, and local design architects. The events were held in the Houston Housing Authority’s Neighborhood Resource Center at 815 Crosby from 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM and at 601 Sawyer Street from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM respectively. Each Gallery Show was an informal and festive event, designed for participants from all CRA neighborhoods to explore, review, comment and vote on the displayed home designs. This document is a summary of these events and the results of the voting.

View Gallery Debrief

DR2 - Design Gallery from buildingcommunityWORKSHOP on Vimeo.

16 Preliminary home design boards were displayed for community review and feedback on Thursday, February 27th. The designs presented were a result of the collaborative design process between the project team, local design architects, community participants, residents and DR2 applicants from the CRA and Outreach Neighborhoods; Acres Homes, Independence Heights, Near Northside, Fifth Ward, OST/ South Union, and Sunnyside.

To see event photos, visit our facebook page: facebook.com/bcWORKSHOP Music: Kevin MacLeod - Acid Jazz

Collaborating with local architects and the project team, bcWORKSHOP facilitated the Community Design Workshop on February 1st. Over 50 were in attendance, including neighborhood residents and leaders, program participants, local design architects, the DR2 project team and city staff. Participants took part in multiple activities to help determine their preferences for home design in their neighborhood, which will influence the development of all designs.

To see event photos, visit us at facebook.com/bcworkshop

Music: Julien Lussiez - Seconde Chance

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Project Information

In September 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall on the upper Texas coast, causing more than $3 billion in damages to single family housing across the Houston metropolitan region. Many low-income homeowners impacted by the storm have not yet been able to repair or replace their homes due to limited financial resources. In response, the Texas General Land Office (GLO) granted $152 million to the City of Houston’s Housing and Community Development Department (HCDD) to administer Round 2 of the city’s Disaster Recovery Program (DR2). Investment will provide relief to affected homeowners while creating areas of opportunity where neighborhood revitalization and recovery can occur.

HCDD, through an extensive analysis of Houston’s social and physical conditions, identified six target neighborhoods as high opportunity areas. These Community Revitalization Areas (CRA) and CRA Outreach Areas will collectively receive up to 400 newly designed and constructed homes as part of the DR2 program.

Project Resources

City of Houston, Housing and Community Development Department
Horne LLP
Disaster Recovery Round 2 Design Guidebook

Projects Standards and Guidelines

Disaster Recovery - Round 2 Market Analysis/Area Selection
Housing Design Standards
Housing Design Specifications
The GLO Construction Manual
The Hurricane Ike Round 2 Guidelines


In order to maximize the impact and amount of community revitalization as a result of the Round 2 funding, the City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department (HCDD), the Houston Housing Authority (HHA), and stakeholder groups identified six areas of high investment opportunity. The six areas are divided into Community Revitalization Areas (CRAs), or primary investment areas, and CRA Outreach Areas, or secondary investment areas. Although common themes exist between communities, each area has its own unique history, social dynamics, and physical context. Areas include:

Near NorthsideFifth WardOST/South UnionAcres HomesIndependence HeightsSunnyside
Near Northside, also known as Northside Village, was originally developed in the 1890’s and was once part of the Fifth Ward. In the early 1900’s, the area was predominantly occupied by people of European descent who worked at the nearby Southern Pacific Hardy Rail Yard. Houston was a rail town at the time, boasting more railroad traffic than any city south of St. Louis. The Northside expanded with the Ryon Addition in the 1910’s, The Irvington Addition in the 1920’s and Lindale Park in 1930’s. After World War II, as railroad traffic declined, the population changed with increased HIspanic population. The original street grid still remains, with commercial structures facing the major thoroughfares and rows of one-story houses on more residential scaled streets.

View dr2 Neighborhoods in a larger map
After the American Civil War, newly freed slaves began settling the area today known as Northside and Greater Fifth Ward. In 1866, the City of Houston christened the area the Fifth Ward or “The Nickel” as it came to be nicknamed. By 1870 the population was 50% African American and 50% white residents. By the mid-1880’s, Fifth Ward became home to a nearly all African American working class community. In the 1930’s, the neighborhood was described as “one of the proudest black neighborhoods” in the United States. Black-owned and operated businesses flourished within the community until the 1950’s. In the 1970’s and 1980’s the Fifth Ward became notorious throughout Houston for the violence perpetrated in the community. Since the 1990’s, however, Fifth Ward has undergone multiple revitalization efforts by community organizations.

View dr2 Neighborhoods in a larger map
Old Spanish Trail/South Union was rural and suburban when the area began development in the late 1940’s. Heavily weeded lots measuring 50 feet by 100 feet were sold to young, African American WWII veterans and their families. Residents established their own municipal water district in the 1950’s and many homeowners owned at least one car. Until annexation in 1957, the streets were dirt roads with open drainage ditches. This thriving community had its own modern grocery stores, meat markets, service stations, drive-In restaurant, churches, taxi cabs, ice cream parlors, barber shops, beauty shops, drug store, shoe shops, fire station, dry cleaners, and Sunnyside Elementary School. At one point, the nearby OST/South Union area had a private airstrip with two hangars, Baseball stadium, and horse racing tracks, all of which have since been demolished. After annexation South Union’s urbanization and population began to increase rapidly and brought civic improvements to the neighborhood.

View dr2 Neighborhoods in a larger map

Acres Homes was once considered the South’s largest unincorporated African American community. First platted by the Wright Land Company in 1917, undeveloped lots were sold by the acre, which is how the area derived its name. The rural homesites were inexpensive and afforded low taxes. They were sized to allow small gardens, farm animals, and had no building codes. Despite resident’s efforts to develop infrastructure, the settlement was unable to maintain itself, due to poverty. In the early 1970’s Acres Homes was annexed into the City of Houston, with city water and sewer services planned for the area. When annexed, Acres Homes was a 121/2-square-mile, heavily wooded, dispersed settlement without transportation or educational facilities. While 90% of residents were homeowners, much of the housing was in substandard condition at that time. By the 1980’s, the community had become a sprawling working-class neighborhood of well-kept, brick and wood frame homes interspersed with abandoned cottages.

View dr2 Neighborhoods in a larger map
Developed by Wright Land Company, Independence Heights became the first African American municipality in Texas. The company began selling 25-foot lots in 1908 to middle-class black residents who moved from other areas of the city. It became an incorporated city in 1915. Houses were designed by the new residents and constructed by local African American builders. These homes had electric lights, water, shell streets, plank sidewalks, and were heated by natural gas. The population grew from around 400 in 1915 to more than 3,500 in 1929. The City of Houston formally annexed Independence Heights in December of 1929. Prior to annexation, the City of Independence Heights had a municipally owned water source, electric lights, several churches, and about 40 black-owned businesses. These included grocery stores, restaurants, a railroad terminal, a lumber company, and the Lincoln Theater, the only black theater in Houston at the time. A rail line used for public transportation ran a loop through Independence Heights. Despite annexation, investments that were supposed to bring improvements to the area, were never realized due to the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression.

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Sunnyside can be described as “rurban,” a word coined in 1918 which describes an area with a mix of urban and rural characteristics. When the earliest development took place circa 1912, the founder, H. H. Holmes, gave the land the name Sunny Side. In 1915, during the era of “Restricted Communities,” this was the first addition south of the city to be developed and offered exclusively to African Americans. Platted land was sold to individuals and roads were scarce, often needing to be established by residents themselves. In 1949 Brookhaven subdivision became first part of Sunnyside to be annexed into the City of Houston. In 1956 the rest of Sunnyside was annexed. Before annexation, however, the community of Sunnyside had built churches, and hosted the first school for African American children to become part of Houston ISD. A civic club was organized to provide better drainage, lighting, and civic improvements, and created its own water district and volunteer fire department. As new houses began to appear in Sunnyside in 2007, the community still had small churches, horse stalls, original frame houses, open ditches, uncontrolled garbage fires, and many vacant lots characteristic of rural landscapes.

View dr2 Neighborhoods in a larger map
Home Design

DR2 | Disaster Recovery Single Family Homeowner Assistance Program Round 2
DR2 | Home Design Gallery Show Boards

16 Preliminary home design boards were displayed for community review and feedback on Thursday, February 27th at 815 Crosby Street, Houston Texas from 6:00PM - 8:30PM.

The designs presented are a result of the collaborative design process between the project team, local design architects, community participants, residents and DR2 applicants from the CRA and Outreach Neighborhoods; Acres Homes, Independence Heights, Near Northside, Fifth Ward, OST/ South Union, and Sunnyside.

(Preliminary designs are conceptual and final home design materials and selections are to be determined. Final porch size and window selections pending waiver approval.)

Project Team
Design TeamLocal Design Architects

The buildingcommunityWORKSHOP is a Dallas based nonprofit community design center seeking to improve the livability and viability of communities through the practice of thoughtful design and making. We enrich the lives of citizens by bringing design thinking to areas of our city where resources are most scarce. To do so, the bcWORKSHOP recognizes that it must first understand the social, economic, and environmental issues facing a community before beginning work.

Established in 2005, the Community Design Resource Center’s mission is to serve the public interest through design, research, education, and practice focused on enhancing the livability of Houston’s communities. Over the last nine years the Community Design Resource Center has partnered with 29 community-based and non-profit organizations to complete 22 funded design projects. The projects range in scale from community visioning—Collaborative Community Design Initiative—to the implementation of small scale design projects such as the “Zona de Juego” in Magnolia Park, a 600’ long public art project celebrating the history of the neighborhood and encouraging active play for children. Our projects illustrate our capacity to work creatively and collaboratively at different scales and with multiple partners and diverse communities. Our partnerships have significantly contributed to the public debate on the role of architecture and good design in catalyzing community change. As we move forward we are designing new ways to engage our community partners, and new ways to enhance the mutuality, reciprocity and impact of our activities.

The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio (GCCDS) is a professional service and outreach program of Mississippi State University’s College of Architecture, Art + Design. The GCCDS was established in Biloxi, Mississippi in response to Hurricane Katrina to provide architectural design services, landscape and planning assistance, educational opportunities and research to organizations and communities along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The GCCDS works through close, pragmatic partnerships with local organizations and communities. In Biloxi, the GCCDS shares workspace with a key local partner, the Hope Community Development Agency – a relationship that brings the office into direct and continuous contact with the community’s needs and resources. The GCCDS works with non-profit organizations, local governments, universities, developers and other partners in all three of Mississippi’s coastal counties, putting professional expertise to work in order to shape vibrant and resilient Gulf Coast communities.

unabridged Architecture has established a practice dedicated to civic and sustainable design within fragile coastal environments. We utilize experience with previous projects to incorporate the use of sustainable design, applied knowledge of impact-resistant and blast-resistant construction, familiarity with a variety of sites including coastal hazard conditions, and a long-standing tradition of design excellence. uA also offers experience in resource- efficient historic preservation.

Established in 2007, Brett Zamore Design has gained national recognition for architecture that is sensitive to our surrounding conditions, mindful of the past, the present and the shifting, ever-changing world. Our LEED Accredited office designs buildings that are environmentally responsible, simple and modern yet warm in texture and composition. Each project is well thought out, captures the vision of our clients and are a unique fit within their natural context. By creating projects that adapt and readapt to different situations and needs, it is our belief that successful architecture makes a difference.

Cedric Douglas is a placed based designer and community developer working in Houston and Austin communities to foster urban rejuvenation with the participation of the existing community assets. Cedric carries with him ten plus years of experience designing residential, commercial, health care, and recreational environments. His educational experience (BARCH) form Gerald D Hines College of Architecture, University of Houston gave him access to study in France, travel throughout Europe, and exposure to pubic interest design through a year long studio project in Central America. Cedric uses design to instigate and excite place and wants his architecture to benefit the human experience.

Founded by Karen Lantz, our firm, Lantz Full Circle is an expression of design concepts from inception to completion with thoughtful moves that pave the way to good design. Our team brings projects full circle, taking on roles in development, architecture, interiors, landscape and construction. The firm’s mission is driven by principles that guide us in determining which projects to seek and take on. We actively practice historic preservation, deconstruction, sustainable design and construction. Our goal is to create forward-thinking designs that make sense while embracing design ideals for a building that is wholly integrated with its environment.

LO: Jason Logan received a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Houston. He is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Houston, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate design studios. Before cofounding LOJO, Jason worked for Gensler and the design-build practice MC2. Jason's research seeks to exploit digital technology as a means of addressing the rapidly evolving social and environmental conditions of contemporary society.
JO: Before co founding LOJO, Matthew Johnson worked for Allied Works Architecture in Portland, Oregon and Steven Holl Architects in New York. He is currently an assistant professor at the University of Houston. He has taught previously at Yale University and Stanford University. Matthew received his Master of Architecture from the Yale University School of Architecture and his Bachelor degree with Humanities Honors from Stanford University. Matthew's writing has been published in international journals on architecture and urbanism. His research focuses on the intersection of ecology, technology and urbanism, with architecture as the humanizing focus of that interaction.

m + a architecture studio is a small design and build firm located in Houston that focuses on individual projects and unique solutions to design problems. The firm's work spans a range of residential and commercial projects - from very modest small scale projects to multi-million dollar homes.

MC2 Architects and MC2 Construction were founded on the belief that design and construction are inseparable. The firm was established in 1995 by Chuong Q.B Nguyen and Chung Q.B Nguyen to provide residential and commercial clients with the benefits of having every project component-from design through construction-informed and directed by a singular vision. The Nguyen brothers believe that both practical and aesthetic bonds intrinsically link the design and construction processes. For MC2, respecting those bonds produces the best combination of function, sensibility and good economics.

McIntyre + Robinowitz Architects are committed to working on projects of varying size and complexity from commercial adaptive reuse to custom residential. They strive for a timeless design that captures the uniqueness of each particular place, client, and building program. McIntyre + Robinowitz Architects are committed to working on projects of varying size and complexity from commercial adaptive reuse to custom residential. They strive for a timeless design that captures the uniqueness of each particular place, client, and building program.

Taft Architects was founded as a collaborative practice by John Casbarian, Danny Samuels, and Robert Timme in 1972. Over 40 years, the firm has been recognized with more than 66 major awards, including 3 consecutive Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects and a Progressive Architecture design award in 1980. In 1985 the partners received the Rome Prize in architecture, and in 1991, were elected to the College of Fellows in the American Institute of Architects. In 1999 Taft Architects received the Firm of the Year Award from the Houston AIA. Taft + Metalab are working in collaboration on this project.

METALAB is a licensed architectural practice with previous experience in architecture, metal fabrication, industrial design, and manufacturing. While we have experience in projects ranging from small residential renovations, to large civic projects, we believe that the best work in any genre can be done by outliers with fresh perspectives, and as such, we specialize in everything and nothing. We offer standard architectural services, as well as design consulting services for projects or specialized spaces within a larger context. Our extensive experience in metal fabrication and project management in large scale civic arts grounds our design sensibility in the how-to. Our patents and innovations in sustainable technology gives us a deep understanding of what it means to be green. And our common dialect with engineers and fabricators across a broad range of scales give us the ability to realize unique and compelling solutions for the built environments. Taft + Metalab are working in collaboration on this project.

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