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The HOME House Project

The Future of Affordable Housing

May 06 through August 06, 2006

The HOME House Project

Curated by David J. Brown

The late visionary architect Samuel Mockbee, founder of the Rural Studio architecture program for Auburn University, once remarked, “Houses are the great paramour for architects, from the most successful all the way down to the most struggling. We draw them on the backs of napkins. Too often, when I look at what builders and developers are doing, we're not talking about architecture any longer. We're talking about capitalism at its most obscene. The public has bought into the mediocrity and insipid attitude of manufactured and spec houses, and has given up any hope of creating homes with spirit.”The HOME House Project takes its cue from the spirit of Mockbee’s words.

Competition and Exhibition

The HOME House Project is an ambitious, multi-year initiative that addresses the future of affordable housing. In 2002 the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina challenged artists and architects to propose new designs for affordable and sustainable single-family housing for low-and moderate-income families. These designs are guided by the existing building criteria and price parameters supplied by Habitat for Humanity for typical three-and four-bedroom houses. Competition participants were required to use the Habitat information as a point of departure. In addition, the design criteria focuses on environmentally-friendly/sustainable materials, technologies and methods—areas that housing design and construction must occupy in the immediate future. This combination offers a pathway to engage families, communities, officials (cultural, humanitarian, governmental) and commercial organizations with the advantages of sustainability, quality design and workmanship. The response that was generated was overwhelming: from the more than 800 individuals and teams from the United States and 16 countries that registered for the project, SECCA received more than 440 designs. The works represented in this exhibition include the 25 Awards of Merit winners selected from the initial group. They offer a range of design solutions -- from the adventurous and visionary to the traditional and everything in between.


The jury consisted of three nationally-known figures who share the multiple designations of critic, architect, educator, author, designer and builder. They are Michael Sorkin (New York), Ben Nicholson (Chicago), and Steve Badanes (Seattle). This group selected twenty-five Awards of Merit that best addressed the design criteria and offered the widest range of design solutions. Due to the egalitarian nature of the project, the jury decided to share the award monies evenly between all twenty-five winners.


One of the specific goals of the project is to provide inspired design in the affordable housing market for those who historically have been omitted from enjoying its benefits. The overall aim is to establish a new national housing model in terms of design, energy efficiency, environmental consciousness and cost effectiveness that can change the stigma attached to affordable housing throughout the United States. Theidea is to create a model program for communities everywhere that, once it begins to germinate, will continue to grow, develop and multiply.

Cincinnati Building Project

The CAC and the Northside Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (NCURC) are partnering to construct two new homes in the Northside community of Cincinnati. The architect is being selected from the merit winners of The HOME House Project exhibition. The homes will be two-story, three bedroom, two bath homes with on-site parking. They will also feature construction with environmentally-friendly and/or recycled building materials.

The HOME House partnership with the CAC is part of NCURC’s Fergus Street Project, a comprehensive redevelopment project that will promote home ownership and expand high quality housing options for all residents.With a very substantial mixed-use development being planned just south of the Fergus Street project area and an increasingly-successful neighborhood business district, the project promises to expand the exciting physical and cultural options Northside offers.

Located on the corner of Chase Avenue and Fergus Street, the site for these homes has been acquired with the assistance of initial project financing from the City of Cincinnati.Site preparation will take place in mid-May with construction to be completed by Spring 2007

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