Affordable housing in Hale County, Alabama, is hard to come by. Auburn University Rural Studio launched its 20K House project with the goal of designing and building dignified homes that a contractor could reproduce on a large scale, and that would sell for $20,000, the highest realistic mortgage a person can maintain on Hale Country's median Social Security check.
Role of design
From initial design sketches to full drawing sets, the architecture students of Rural Studio focus on designing houses that use efficient space, materials, and energy. Minimizing waste from construction onward ensures the resulting homes are comfortable to live in and easy to maintain.
Since 2005, Rural Studio has designed 12 versions of the one-bedroom 20K House. The project expanded in 2014 to include four two-bedroom versions as well. Each 20K House can be built for approximately $12,000 in materials and $8,000 in contracted labor and profit.