Contact: Geoffrey Adams 459-3123
Karen King 321-6678
Jim Fox 505-316-0681
Media Contact: Carolyn Gonzales 277-5920

December 18, 2003


The Smithsonian's National Building Museum has requested to feature the affordable house design created by University of New Mexico graduate architecture students Jim Fox, Leslie Ford and Marcus Bushong, in an upcoming exhibition on affordable housing.

The exhibition, "Affordable Housing: Designing an American Asset," will be on view from February 29 through August 8, 2004 in Washington, D.C.

The project recently won top honors for the design from the HOME House Project Competition sponsored by the Southeast Center for Contemporary Arts (SECCA) in Winston-Salem, N.C. The work was directed by Introductory Architecture Design Studio faculty Geoffrey Adams and Karen J. King.

The design utilized Habitat for Humanity's typical three-four bedroom house as a point of departure for the design of "inspired," affordable, visitable, sustainable, efficient alternatives, King said.

Fox came up with the idea to use metal shipping containers for the basic structure of the house.

"They're affordable, transportable, durable and waterproof," Fox said. He did his homework. The containers cost about $1,800 each and there's an abundance of them in the U.S. as a result of the trade deficit with Asia - more come in than go out.

The containers used for the design are 40 feet by 8 feet by 8 ½ feet, Fox said, and the floors are made of Malaysian mahogany.

The design idea Fox, Ford and Bushong developed used two containers. "In one, we created the kitchen, bath and storage area," Fox said. The bedrooms are in the other container with the living space, and glass patio doors, in the middle. "The bedrooms have roll up doors that open either to the living room or the patio," he said.

The HOME House Project Competition required that the structure cost no more than $65,000, be easy to assemble, use recycled materials and be constructed of readily available material. "Both the roof and patio deck are made of wood," said Fox.

Schluntz said, "As the late visionary architect Samuel Mockbee, who founded the remarkable Rural Studio architecture program for Auburn University, once remarked: 'Houses are the great paramour for architects, from the most successful all the way down to the most struggling. We draw them on the backs of napkins. Too often, when I look at what builders and developers are doing, we're not talking about architecture any longer. We're talking about capitalism at its most obscene. The public has bought into the mediocrity and insipid attitude of manufactured and spec houses, and has given up any hope of creating homes with spirit.' The HOME House Project takes its cue from the
spirit of Mockbee's words."

"This is an exceptional accomplishment by a group of students who have shown us the value of architecture. Design does not have to be complicated or expensive to provide a wonderful and accessible place for living. It does, however, have to inspire the imaginations and aspirations of those who call it home," King said.

The scheme, exemplified a philosophical approach to design that celebrates the open competition of ideas fostered within the support of the collective studio.

"This culture asks students to focus not only on their individual efforts but to participate as critics and collaborators in the work of their peers. The spirit of competition and collaboration galvanized all four schemes entered and I know the three students on the winning team would share the sentiment that the acknowledgement received is a credit to the intensity of effort, the depth of inquisition and the talents of the entire studio," Adams said.

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