Space-maximizing KU Studio 804 house open for public viewing on Saturday
Stay within a small lot. Incorporate repurposed materials. Keep it environmentally friendly. Ensure there’s enough storage. Design to be wheelchair-friendly.
Oh, and make it look cool.
These and other challenges were all in the equation for designing and building the latest product of the University of Kansas Studio 804 class. The sum is the new house at 1330 Brook St. in eastern Lawrence.
The three-bedroom, two-bathroom “passive solar” house is for sale and will be open for public tours from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Studio 804 is a KU architecture class, with an associated not-for-profit corporation, in which fifth-year Master of Architecture students annually design and build a building themselves from the ground up.
Once complete, homes are sold, and the money goes back into the Studio 804 program.
Charlie Rotter, of St. Louis, one of the 10 students in the Studio 804 class, said maximizing the space on the long, narrow lot was a big priority in designing the house — without making the house feel cramped.
“It’s an incredibly efficient use of space,” Rotter said. “In a house where you only have 1,300 square feet, you fight for every square inch.”
One signature feature in the otherwise long, rectangular house is what the students call “the notch.”
Located on the south side of the house, the notch is a covered patio where the front door is located. The exterior walls in this section of the house are all glass, enabling views into the dining room, kitchen, living room and office/third bedroom and ensuring the area feels spacious, Rotter said.
Another signature is a covered walkway that runs the length of the house, leading from the front yard, into “the notch” and back to the alley behind the house. The walkway is edged with ground-to-roof metal bars that semi-enclose it — and cast dramatic shadows when the home is lit up at night.
Other notable features include:
• 9-foot ceilings throughout most of the house.
• All-electric climate control, appliances and lighting. On the roof will be 16 solar panels capable of providing 4.8 kilowatt-hours of power.
• Cold-rolled steel countertops and polished concrete floors.
• Storage closets lining much of the house’s north side.
• Aluminum-paneled exterior, with highly efficient cellulose insulation. The ceiling over the exterior walkway is lined with cedar wood milled from old railroad trestles, a remnant from last year’s Studio 804 house.
• “Passive” strategies for lighting and sun shading. The bedrooms, kitchen and living room are purposely arranged along the south wall to take advantage of natural light.
The list price for 1330 Brook St. is $249,000, said architecture professor Dan Rockhill, who leads Studio 804. The adjacent lot also is for sale, with a list price of $30,000.
Rockhill said he hopes to sell the house and lot as a package, enabling the house’s new owners to use the lot for a garden, a garage or whatever they’d like.
If you go
A public open house is planned from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at 1330 Brook St. The newly constructed house was designed and built by University of Kansas students in the Studio 804 architecture class, who will lead the tours.