Loopy Middles

Housing Prototype

Site:                 Houston
Program:        Dwelling Units / Community Development
Size:                2.30 acres
Status:            Concept Design
Team:              Shawn M. Lutz

Throughout the United States territories, we are embarking on years of consecutive economic growth, pushing the demand for housing into soaring prices based on traditional modes of building practices. One way to gauge affordability for households is those that do not exceed 30 percent on income expenses to rent or mortgages—defined by the accessible surrounding context to resources within walking distance suitable to offset the use of vehicles. In years past, Houston has been known for the accessible costs of living and demographic diversity. Though statistics rose proportionally, Houston has sustained traditions. Counter to this description, demographic maps of the unzoned city appear zoned through segregation principles of income and resources traceable to city planning origins of numerical ward neighborhoods. As the city evolves through contemporary conversations, proximity, and affordable living challenges remain marginalized and thoughtful as the City of Houston adapts to new models of community structure for housing. The “Missing Middle” developments about four to eight units are in the early inauguration of practices. Instead of early initiation, design strategies are streamlined and could benefit further exploration.

This case study project focuses on the central-western portion of the city with higher property values and less diverse building models for living in the Houston-based Menil neighborhood, which is open to contemporary discourse in the Montrose area. As a proposal, consider the diversity and the place of living beside the units for more resources for shared living. The landscapes and architecture discipline is tangential through drawing meandering continuous lines forming open and closed courtyards. Loopy Middles is a project confronting the Missing Middles housing typology in a quasi-urban context that brings architecture and landscape into the fold.

_ Michael Heizer, Circular Surface Displacement Drawing, 1970
Society of Rooms, Courtyard View