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2020 Virtual Housing Studio

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic the 2020 Summer Design + Build Studio was adjusted for students and professors to engage in a virtual design only environment. To consider the “build” portion critical to all architectural work, the studio focused on the real-world parameters of the Durham City and County newly adopted Expanding Housing Choices (EHC) guidelines to their Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). Additionally, students prepared limited construction documents and construction budgets. Students produced site specific designs for two projects over a 10-week semester. The first was an individual project where each student designed an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) for a specific site. In the second project, student teams designed high density neighborhoods. Students were required to design to local zoning ordinances and building codes and were encouraged to maximize the potential of their sites.

Accessory Dwelling Units

In 2019, the City and County of Durham passed the Expanding Housing Choices plan to provide more housing options in the fast-growing city. Part of this plan gives all single-family properties the right to add one Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) of up to 800 square feet. Each student was tasked to design an ADU for one of four assigned sites in Durham. The four sites included an Urban Site with an alley, and Urban Site without an alley, a Suburban Site, and a Rural Site. Students were also assigned one of eight ADU types, which provided size and program requirements.

Durham EHC Pocket Neighborhoods

Durham’s adoption of the Expanding Housing Choices (EHC) plan provides the opportunity for higher density single-family development. Lots in these configurations may include two-family dwellings as well as one Accessory Dwelling Unit per lot. Students split into four teams to create two design proposals for two sites. The teams were challenged to find solutions to maximize the number of dwelling units while remaining sensitive to context, the use of exterior space, and creation of community.