The end of the semester arrived, and it was time to reveal all our hard work. Architects from BNIM, El Dorado, the Kansas City Design Center and professors from the college came to see the results of the Net-Positive Studio. We all had worked on so much to get to this point. Site analysis of the entire town, cost-estimations, mach wall construction, and so many other new experiences were just small parts of a huge step in our own design. It was just as hard for us to explain the intricacy of our process as it was to get our project to this point.
We began by explaining St John’s situation. Families who want to live there or have a reason to live nearby face one major hurdle: housing. There are no quality or inexpensive homes available. Banks don’t are wary of providing loans to improve and ultimately if one chooses to live in St. John, they are often forced to pick the first place they can find. Our goal is to provide a home and that embodies both the quality and price that citizens need to be happy in their hometown. We discussed our dozens of ideas before our project and how many approaches could be taken to solve this housing crisis in a unique way. Ultimately it led us all to a single concept. Privacy, connection to the environment, and a central core focused on keeping the St. John family together in a house familiar to what they love about the homes they grew up in, while also being contrasted by the qualities that make this place an icon for future projects.
Valuable feedback allowed us to stand back and see this design through an unbiased lens. Our principles were challenged so that we could further develop our reasons for building this net-zero home. Interesting details were honed into something completely unique, places that needed improvement were rethought, and suggestions were made to trade expensive constructs with equally powerful and less expensive moments. At the end of our presentation, our project had been shaped into something new, even if we hadn’t realized it yet. The design that evolved from our work would become a unique piece in net-zero, affordable housing and something that we all are proud to build in St. John.