Full view of Buster's Home

20K Buster’s Home

  • Overview


    Perry County, AL
    5th Year Project

  • Project Team

    Olivia Backer, Ben Malaier, Janine Mwenja, Carley Chastain

20K Buster’s Home is a two-bedroom dwelling focused on accessibility, active and passive energy systems. In the spirit of the 20K Home project, students kept footprint small and the home economical. Previous project iterations passed down a vast wealth of research and construction knowledge, so this home presented an opportunity to study both previously used 20K construction techniques and how the clients adapted to and lived in their homes. 

Two-bedroom, one-bathroom house built on an insulated concrete slab

The post-occupancy studies revealed design successes and misconceptions of the 20K project, allowing students to create new guidelines and design parameters. The team identified broad usage trends, particularly in relation to furniture. For example, no matter the size of the home’s footprint, 20K homeowners almost always place two couches in the living room, positioned along a wall, counter, or even in front of a door. This finding suggested focusing on minimizing undefined circulation and developing a square floor plan. This approach, we hope, will allow for more flexible use of space, accommodating varied lifestyles. The centrally positioned recessed porch helps to transition circulation space from exterior, to interior and provide an outdoor space for activities.

The team also analyzed previous insulation systems of the building envelope (the wall, floor, and ceiling) to inform design decisions, opting for passive energy strategies to reduce active energy for heating and cooling. Many a previous 20K Home used a foundation of a grid of concrete pier footings that support a wooden platform-framed flooring system because it seemed quick to build and versatile. Buster’s Home, however, is built on an insulated concrete slab, allowing the Studio to comparing the relative material costs, energy efficiency, and construction labor between both foundation systems. This home also has a radiant barrier in the roof and tightly insulated walls and ceilings. The windows are strategically placed, and in combination with attic air movement, allow passive ventilation. A single-zone mini-split system will be enough to heat and cool this home.

Focused on accessibility, active and passive energy systems, and maintaining a small footprint

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