silhouette house

Silhouette House is founded on the idea of bringing the same level of empowerment to the design process that currently exists in the construction process of a Habitat home. The silhouette of each house can be as unique as the silhouette of each owner. The owners will customize the configuration of the roofline and also the ceiling line of their house.

Currently, by utilizing flat truss technology, highly customized trusses can be fabricated at no additional cost compared to an off-the-shelf truss. This mass customization technology would be employed to create the building’s section of each individual’s house. The truss is not used in its typical manner, spanning over the house; rather, it is extruded in section to form the house itself.

Silhouette House exploits this building technology to reduce waste and to increase the speed of construction in order to meet the recent initiatives set out by Habitat to build 100,000 houses by 2005 and to employ only green building practices. More significantly is the shift of the homeowner’s involvement with the design process and not only the construction process of their Habitat house. This is a significant shift from a passive relationship to design, to one that communicates to the homeowner a more significant sense of ownership.

The owner-designer is given the opportunity to “draw” the section of their new home. This individualized silhouette provides them with a unique image of the house while also transforming the quality of the spaces provided by the fixed plan. It provides them with a sense of address as well as with personal space customized relative to site conditions or space configuration preferences. The plan configuration of the house is fixed to maintain a clear relationship to the street, to maximize the amount of contiguous open space on the site, and to minimize reliance on artificial mechanical systems (the house is one room deep to provide cross ventilation in all rooms). The house is designed to continue the volunteer spirit that is at the core of Habitat’s mission. The prefabricated units are meant to facilitate larger concentrations of volunteers on site at one time, thereby promoting a greater collective spirit among the Habitat


2004    Honorable Mention- ID Magazine 50th Annual Design Review – concepts category – New York, New York

2004    exhibited at HOME House Project Exhibition, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art – Winston Salem as part of a national traveling exhibition




Collaborator: Doug Hecker