Architect Dan Rockhill eagerly accepted a rare request for a modern home from a family in Lawrence, Kansas, even though they had just $214,000 to spend on design and construction. Rockhill’s first move was to remedy the site’s two drawbacks—a steep slope and street noise—in one swoop by placing the bulk of the 1,500-square-foot home on the second level and tucking an additional bedroom, bathroom, and carport underneath. But, his biggest flourish was a slatted exterior screen of Cumaru wood that shields the inexpensive metal siding.
Subashini Nadarajah, a creative director, built her own home in Westwood, Kansas. The 2,400-square-foot home, which she shares with her dog Bina, features a sunny eating and dining space, which Nadarajah describes as the "heart of the house."
It wasn't a stretch to bring California to Kansas City, according to architect Josh Shelton. When his firm El Dorado was chosen to design a Habitat for Humanity home, part of Public Architecture’s 1% for Habitat Initiative, his thoughts pivoted around the outdoors. While factoring in the cost and material constraints, Shelton also examined how design lessons drawn from more ideal climates could be applied to his own backyard. The results, as he explains, point to an affordable, more sustainable way to shape a home around outdoor space. "I was less interested in the traditional front and back yard," he says. "I was thinking about indoor and outdoor holistically, and how I could utilize those pivotal early spring and late fall moments."
After a tornado wiped Greensburg, Kansas, off the map in 2007, residents rebuilt their homes more resiliently and sustainably.