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Mariposa 1038 (Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects)

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The AIA Housing and Community Development Knowledge Community (HCD) is a network of architects and allied stakeholders that promotes equity in housing, excellence in residential design, and sustainable, vibrant communities for all, through education, research, awards, and advocacy.

  • 1.  Habitat For Humanity

    Posted 01-27-2023 10:31 AM

    Have any architecture firms out there partnered with their local Habitat affiliate to either help promote affordable housing or build and or donate to Habitat?  

    I think there is a missed opportunity for this.  Partnering with a local affiliate can be done in many ways - helping design low cost housing, helping revitalize the neighborhood or even a team build day 

    Let me know you know of any success stories - or ways that you've connected.   I am a board member  at a local Habitat  affiliate and I'd like to find a way to connect to local architecture firms.   I am in the north suburbs of Chicago.

    Thank you

    Dustin W. Goffron, AIA, LEED AP+, CDT
    Safety Assessment Program Evaluator Training 2023, December 6 and 7. Earn 6.5 LUs HSW

  • 2.  RE: Habitat For Humanity

    Posted 01-30-2023 05:47 PM

    Hi Dustin,

    We are working with Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, NC on an innovative mixed-income development here in the Triangle Region of North Carolina: https://weaversgrove.org/.  It will include 101 Habitat homes (duplexes and townhouses), 40 market-rate single-family homes, 96 market-rate condominiums, and significant indoor & outdoor community amenities.  (We are the architects for the Habitat dwellings and community buildings.)

    Weavers Grove is gaining some national attention from other affiliates, and I'm sure the Habitat leadership here would love to chat with your local board and share ideas & experiences. Jennifer Player is the executive director - jplayer@orangehabitat.org

    Hope that's helpful; let me know if I can provide any additional information. 


    Logo  Description automatically generated



    Jason S. Lettie, AIA, LEED AP BD+C


    Practice Leader – Housing | Architect

    125 N. Harrington Street    Raleigh, NC  27603

    919 833 6413 o  919 414 0109 m

    LinkedIn  | Instagram  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  YouTube  |  Portfolio 



    Safety Assessment Program Evaluator Training 2023, December 6 and 7. Earn 6.5 LUs HSW

  • 3.  RE: Habitat For Humanity

    Posted 01-31-2023 06:40 AM

    Dustin – thank you for serving as a board member at your local Habitat.  We have designed a couple of homes in partnership with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.  It was rewarding to come together with Habitat to create affordable housing and educate people.  I've personally helped on local and national Habitat builds so understand the team building and homeowner participation pieces.  I recommend that you reach out to architecture firms who do housing in your area. 


    Rosemary McMonigal  FAIA, LEED AP, CID




    McMonigal Architects

    1227 Tyler Street NE, Suite 100

    Minneapolis, MN  55413




    Safety Assessment Program Evaluator Training 2023, December 6 and 7. Earn 6.5 LUs HSW

  • 4.  RE: Habitat For Humanity

    Posted 01-31-2023 10:54 AM
    I am a retired architect in Iowa. While I was working our office enlisted volunteers for a Habitat for Humanity house under construction for one week. I volunteered several more times on my own after that one event. I think there might have been a little racial bias involved in not continuing to enlist office volunteers for more Habitat for Humanity projects.

    David Noyes AIA Member Emeritus
    David Noyes Consulting
    Iowa City IA

    Safety Assessment Program Evaluator Training 2023, December 6 and 7. Earn 6.5 LUs HSW

  • 5.  RE: Habitat For Humanity

    Posted 01-31-2023 11:15 AM
    Habitat for Humanity is a wonderful program changing lives by providing stability and security through shelter and they benefit from all kinds of help that architects can provide. 
    I'm also on the local board of directors and on the Committee for the Advancement of Black Homeownership. My firm has donated design services, volunteered and recruited other volunteers for building days, landscaping, and move-in days. 
    In addition, as architects we're positioned within the construction industry to offer unique opportunities for others to become vendors and donors. Not only have we recruited construction professionals to help build, but we've helped material and product development teams provide donations of materials and equipment to projects in exchange for promoting themselves with great PR. How many product reps are willing to bombard you with emails and samples, offering lunch-and-learns, and spending big bucks advertising themselves? Is there a better combination of the simplicity and ease of construction of affordable single family housing combined with huge recognition and awareness for the contributions? 
    Finally, we've seen building inspectors and code officials allow H4H projects to pass inspections with subpar craftsmanship and below standard construction because they felt bad about making the builders come back out and delaying the completion for a project that was created mostly with donations and volunteers. Rarely is there any construction admin for H4H builds, so it's common for building pro's to cut corners and take shortcuts. Have we really helped a family become more stable or secure if their home is destined to have high maintenance costs, low energy efficiency, poor indoor air quality, or moisture issues? 
    As architects, we have a responsibility to make an impact on the sustainability of communities through the built environment, and we should never take that for granted or let opportunities slip away, especially for the most vulnerable people. Volunteer, donate, recruit, advocate, promote, and support Habitat for Humanity any way you can. You won't regret it!

    +1 470 440 4440 ext. 4

    Safety Assessment Program Evaluator Training 2023, December 6 and 7. Earn 6.5 LUs HSW

  • 6.  RE: Habitat For Humanity

    Posted 02-07-2023 10:49 AM
    Hi, all. I'm admittedly a little biased since I'm the Staff Architect for Austin Habitat for Humanity. I've been in this role since 2013 when the role was created. There are a few other affiliates in the US that have a staff architect or director of design who is an architect. Every affiliate will have different volunteer and design needs, so I encourage you to reach out to your local affiliate and see how open they are to collaboration or donations of pro bono work. We have opted to hire outside architects and engineers so that we get the attention to detail and deadlines that we require since pro bono work often is given a little less priority in some design offices. 

    I'd like to mention, in response to a previous post, that we absolutely focus on durability and the overall cost of ownership for our client families. We are NEVER given a pass by inspectors and have been told by inspectors that we have done great work, though we've also paid for plenty of re-inspections. We consistently receive 3 or 4 stars on our single-family residences in the Austin Energy Green Building (AEGB) program. We often have to modify only a few things (like adding more LED lights) to reach Energy Star certification when certain funding requires it. AEGB is a great program and also allows us to waive permitting fees, leading to more investment in our final product while keeping the sales price affordable. We've done Zero Energy Homes and are planning a new development of Zero Energy Ready Homes now. 

    We are currently in the permitting process for our newest endeavor: a 126-unit multifamily and townhome project in a condo regime. We are using local architects and engineers for design and permitting, and we will still use our volunteer-build model on the townhomes. We are super excited about this project as it moves us into a denser product model.

    We still have detached single-family homes, generally on relatively small lots. We finished our first townhome project in 2021 and will do a new 12-unit duplex project this year. Some of these projects are designed and permitted in-house, while the larger projects are usually designed by local architecture firms. 

    I'm happy to talk with anyone that wants to understand how to better engage with your local affiliate or with Habitat for Humanity International.


    Claire Walpole, AIA, LEED AP | Staff Architect
    cwalpole@ahfh.org | O: 512.472.8788 Ext. 246 | C: 512.638.6301
    Austin Habitat for Humanity | 500 W Ben White Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

    Claire Walpole AIA
    Austin Habitat for Humanity
    Austin TX

    Safety Assessment Program Evaluator Training 2023, December 6 and 7. Earn 6.5 LUs HSW