Barrio Collaboration Wins SEED Award

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Mary Hardin, Associate Dean of Academic and Faculty Affairs, President of Drachman Design-Build Coalition, Professor and Architect; Richard Eribes, participating Professor and Architect; and John Folan, participating Professor and Architect were the design team for the Barrio Collaboration, which has recently been named as a SEED Award winner for Excellence in Public Interest Design.

The SEED Awards recognizes designs that address the critical social, economic, and environmental issues in the world. Six projects were selected based on the following criteria: Effectiveness, Excellence, Inclusiveness, Impactful, Systemic, and Participatory.

The Barrio Collaboration began as the result of a competitive request for proposals for prototype designs for affordable, energy and water conserving housing by the City of Tucson. Students and professors working through the Drachman Design-Build Coalition, a non-profit formed to accommodate academic design-build projects, won the competition. County resources were added to develop the utility infrastructure via a competitive grant funding process.

In order to design energy efficient and water conserving affordable housing, students studied best design practices, attended neighborhood meetings to interview residents about social and economic issues, and learned how the cost of construction translates into mortgage payments, energy and maintenance costs. A unique design was developed for each residence using different building materials and strategies simulated in a computer for energy performance and rainwater collection. Each design was carefully cost accounted for keeping the purchase price within range for families earning below 80% of the Area Median Income. As they were built, (HOBO) thermal sensors were implanted in the wall and roof assemblies. Thermal transfer data and outdoor water use results (measured by sub-meters on hose bibs) were collected for one year after each home was occupied by families, and then analyzed, documented and published as academic papers as well as reported to the stakeholders. All results were published and presented in public workshops in Tucson, for use by other home builders.

The project stakeholders included the UA’s College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture, City of Tucson Housing and Community Development Department, Pima County Community Development and Neighborhood Conservation Department, Barrio San Antonio Neighborhood Association, Tucson Family Housing Resources, The Drachman Institute, and Drachman Design-Build Coalition, Inc.

The winners were selected by a jury of:

Brad Guy, Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Center for Building Stewardship, The Catholic University of America (CUArch)

John Quale, Director of the architecture program, School of Architecture and Planning, University of New Mexico

Gail Vittori, Co-Director, Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems

The projects will be presented by their team members at the sixteenth annual Structures for Inclusion (SFI) conference, sponsored by Autodesk Foundation, and hosted by NC State University on March 19 and 20, 2016 in Raleigh, NC. From its inception in 2000, the goals of SFI have been to showcase design efforts that serve a diverse clientele by presenting inspiring projects, pathways to pursue alternative community-based work, and evidence of the positive impact of this work.