Steele Innovates with Alley Flat in Austin and Munich

A recently completed home: Lydia Street Alley Flat, a single-family rental home in Central East Austin.

Image courtesy of: Alley Flat Initiative

Sketch from Alison Steele’s work with ACDDC through the Alley Flat Initiative.


Graduate student Alison Steele received the 2014 AIA Innovation and Practice in Housing Design Research Grant to continue her work with the Austin Community Design and Development Center (ACDDC). ACDDC is a non-profit committed to providing sustainable design, planning and development services to low- and moderate income individuals, families and neighborhoods. In collaboration with the Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation and the University of Texas Center for Sustainable Development, ACDDC has managed the development of three ADUs, through the award winning Alley Flat Initiative.

The main objective of proposed research is a comprehensive investigation into the design and development of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), with an emphasis on lowering the cost of construction. This research will assist Austin’s Alley Flat Initiative in developing an innovative delivery system for their latest ADU design, AF2.0, as well as provide a resource for other ADU designers across the country. In addition to conventional stick frame site-built construction, the following building systems will be investigated in detail: modular construction, autoclaved aerated concrete block, and a DIY wood log system. Findings on codes, construction costs, and energy modeling estimates will be evaluated in order to suggest the delivery system with the highest potential for replicability.

Steele will be spending the semester in Munich as part of the Solar Decathlon design studio at the Technische Universität München (TUM). Her research has direct applicability to the project due to its intended use as an Alley Flat, and will now be expanded to panelized construction systems in effort to inform the upcoming 2015 SolarD house.

Sep 15, 2014 by Alison Steele in NexusNews

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