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100K House Design/Build Service?

by Chad Ludeman on May 21, 2008 · 7 comments

in architecture,Design,Development,sales

Our team was contacted a few weeks ago by a Philadelphia reader interested in having us design and build a similar home as the 100K House in the neighborhood. We are having our first meeting with them tonight.

This has raised a new question for our team here. “Can we as a team offer affordable design services to accompany the affordable construction costs of the 100K House?”

Only 5% of new homes built use a professional architect for the design. Not sure where this stat comes from but I’ve heard it many times from people I respect. Most of those using architects are wealthy and able to afford both expensive design as well as a costly home. With 100K we have created an affordable home that also happens to rank high in quality and energy efficiency. Can we do the same for the design services and have a go at that 5% figure by making good design more accessible to a wider audience?

I guess we’ll find out soon. What are your thoughts?

If you enjoyed reading this post I can promise you'll love our new writing over at Postgreen Homes. Yeah, we know that's the same thing your favorite band said and their new album is nowhere near as good as their early stuff, but seriously, we are actually still getting better.

There also isn't much conversation to be had here . . . at least not with us. So come on over to the Postgreen Homes Blog and tell us what you think of our new(ish) digs and crazy ideas. We will be sure to tell you what we think of your opinion.

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M&M 100K Plus Floorplan Draft |
July 3, 2008 at 3:18 pm

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rob May 21, 2008 at 2:32 pm

As an architect I am thrilled with the prospect that more people would have design services as an accessible option. Being green while doing this, well thats even better. If you have a model that works, and is cost effective I say run with it.

Philadelphia, the new green city! Look out Portland! :)

2 Marcus May 21, 2008 at 6:06 pm

great use of stats. 90% of all convincing arguments win with stats, almost 50% of the time… I think I heard on a commercial… somewhere.

anyway, the key to ‘affordablity’ in design is not one the architect has much value serving. we are neato and wick way keen, but our favorite thing to do is re-invent the wheel. sure, there are some finite skills we have, but nothing necessary to afford the cost of a well built, well meaning home.

I think your key offering, or product if you will, is both the house, and the intellectual property in which it resides. Pre-fab in itself is ‘green,’ and unlike most thinks associated with this now trite and overused mantra, it can actually be cost-efficient. or, sell the plans and the spec as a product. in the end, products are the key to most of our understanding of enviromental protection, not matter whose idea of protection or environmental you believe in.

this is a great project by the way, and I commend you open discourse about it….

3 jal__n May 21, 2008 at 10:01 pm

re: pre-fab
i keep an eye on the blog, but i haven’t dug throughthis site or gotten to know what’s going on super intimately. i thought making the plans available WAS the idea, or at any rate, was hoping it would be. i’m in sacramento, and would love the ability to purchase your plans. for me to implement this project someplace here i know it would probably mean somewhat higher land cost (but maybe not), some variability in materials, and some trips to city hall for permits and whatnot, but all of that feels far more possible than what’s available to me now, even in this tanked market.

maybe the product could also/instead be a book, how-to sort of manual or some piece of media walking folks through your research and development process, so that variations would be possible based on ecology, place-identity, and material availability but would principally result in a similarly-functioning, affordable home. if that’s even possible, it’s more democratizing than expanding your client-base as a design agency. which is what it is and i’m not going to assess it as better or worse…even though i have been reading a lot of randy hester lately.

4 david May 22, 2008 at 1:34 am

the affordable architect thing is a bit of a phurphy, i think. the only way anyone gets anything cheap is this world is by under-paying or mass-producing. it’s either sweat-shops or it’s kmart. to ask an architect to spend time and energy and effort and skill on designing you something that is specific to you and does all the things you want it to do, in a unique manner that will never be repeated is neglectful of what it takes to design.

if you want something bespoke then you pay for it, mr client. if you want something cheaper then go and buy it off the shelf. i think its a blatant misunderstanding that personalised can be cheap, or should be cheap. the designer needs to make a living, and should be able to make a good one from his or her talents and inspiration.

say no to ‘affordable’ bespoke design!

but now that you’ve doen all this work i think it’d be great if you sold the package as a ‘project home’. hundred of 100k houses popping up around the country would be brilliant and definitely not take away fromt he integrity of the project, and make you all some hard-earned financial gains. project home builders constantly fill up the landscape with the same design except theirs is rubbish and yours works.

5 chad May 22, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Thanks for the educated comments from everyone. The meeting went well and it looks like we will try this theory out with our first customer in the next couple of months.

6 nick June 29, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Can you guys do anything in California? I would be really interested in something and have about 100-110k to spend

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