Stories of impact

Stories of impact


“Good design should allow the community to flourish.”


The 20K House project began in 2005 as an Auburn University Rural Studio research project to address the need for affordable housing in Hale County, Alabama. The “20K” represents a goal of creating a dignified home well within the financial means of local homebuyers. 

The goal of the program is to design and build a product line of homes that could be reproduced on a large scale by a contractor.

Role of design

From initial design sketches to full drawing sets, the student designers focus on making the houses both spatially and energy efficient. This allows the homes to perform well for the occupants, keeping maintenance to a minimum and reducing waste in materials and energy use.


Rural Studio has designed 12 versions of the one-bedroom 20K House and will be expanding to two bedrooms in the current year. The program’s unique requirement that students both design and build, as well as its emphasis on socially conscious design, has become a model for architectural studies.

Learn more about Rural Studio.


Affordable homes are needed in rural Alabama.


Design affordable, energy-efficient, and buyable housing options


Well-designed, efficient and affordable homes