Levee House shows how new residential developments could be better situated to densify neighbourhoods close to downtown Lawrence, Kansas, rather than contribute to the city’s sprawl. The home consists of three gabled buildings — a living quarters in front, a sleeping quarters behind it and a second residence that could be used as an accessory dwelling unit behind that.
All are styled according to Midwestern farmhouse vernacular but boast sustainability features (including a PV array and super-insulated envelopes) that earn the home LEED Platinum certification. Instead of arranging the buildings in a neat row, the team set each at an angle relative to the one in front. The result: a home that meanders, much like the river itself.
This ambitious, holistic and replicable vision seeks to provide an affordable, socially cohesive and climate change–resilient housing option for one of Houston’s most vulnerable communities.
It proposes that any new residential development in the Texan city’s Third Ward, a predominantly Black neighbourhood, must increase density to bring down the cost for developers and buyers and satisfy demands for affordable habitation away from the flood-plain; maintain the essential spatial and social qualities to which Houstonians are accustomed; and protect residents from flooding while reintroducing porous surfaces to the urban landscape to mitigate runoff.