On the drawing board: The Frontier House

20K_v08_TH_96979 Rural Studio 20K House; Photo by Timothy Hursley

Epicenter is currently fundraising for a new design/build project: The Frontier House. In summary, Epicenter will design/build a 650 SF house, the city’s minimum home size allowance. The Frontier House will be a model of affordable, durable, and efficient housing costing $36,000 ($55/SF), not including land and fees. This house will act as a teaching tool within our community both during as well as after construction. Epicenter will maintain ownership of the house to allow future showcasing of the work while also using it to host our interns, volunteer groups, and Frontier Fellows.

Of course, we’re looking to Rural Studio’s 20K House product line as inspiration, adapted to our climate, this place, and our population.

The Frontier House is a prototype of affordable, stick-built housing for rural Utah. It will be a reproducible model, teaching best practices for efficient construction. During construction, community members, hardware store employees, and local contractors will be invited to on-site trainings and workshops to exhibit best practices on weatherization, protect against water infiltration, and utilize durable materials that are best-suited for the climate. After completion, the house will be monitored for three years, tracking utility expenses, material durability, and use. The house will maintain in Epicenter’s ownership, used as housing for our artists-in-residence, interns, and volunteers. In this way, Epicenter will keep the house as a tourable unit and a continual learning tool for visitors and community members. The full construction document, including plans and specifications, will be publicly released and promoted as a trailer replacement strategy.

Green River is in dire need of not just affordable housing, but also durable and efficient housing to replace our deteriorated housing stock. Astonishingly, trailers account for 28% of total housing units in Green River (compared to 6% nationwide or 4% in Utah). And, based on a recent study by Epicenter, 69% of all trailers are built before July 1976, before HUD established a national building code for mobile homes. Of all housing types in Green River, still the figure is high: 47% of all homes are in need of repairs (ref: 2012 Green River Housing Plan). We seek to eliminate substandard housing in Green River through a holistic approach including home repairs (via our award-winning Fix It First program), new multi-family housing construction (currently in pre-development), and through our design and construction of the Frontier House by the end of 2016.

Frontier House Budget & Timeline
In-house Design ($3,700) — Feb-May 2016
Community Engagement ($1,500) — Apr-Oct 2016
Construction ($34,750) — Jul-Sept 2016
— Construction Materials: $ 19,500
— Labor inc. sub-contractors: $ 10,500
— Land $ 3,000*
— Fees $ 1,750*
Post-construction monitoring ($800) — Oct ‘16-Sept ’19

Total: $ 40,750
*Variable based on site selection.

Want to support this project? Donate here.