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Sara Pepitone | March 01, 2012
For his Master's of Architecture thesis at Rice University School of Architecture, Brett Zamore raised more than $55,000 from private and public groups to rehabilitate a 900-square-foot home in a historic neighborhood in Houston that had experienced decades of severe decline. "This project was all sweat equity and there was no financial incentive on my part," says Zamore, who created Brett Zamore Design and moved on to work with Architecture for Humanity in building a home in Biloxi, Mississipi, for a family who lost their home to Hurricane Katrina. Architecture For Humanity paid $10,000 for about $25,000 worth of design work, excluding expenses.
Brett Zamore Design
Founder: Brett Zamore
Projects: residential, pre-fab
Looking to continue his quest, Zamore designed plans for his up+dn prefab homes that he eventually sold to Hometta, a company that sells blueprints for affordable modern and sustainable pre-fab homes. Soon thereafter, builder-developer Zach Haines of Color Houses approached Zamore about affordable housing solutions for a new development in a transitional, historic Houston neighborhood. He accepted, knowing the project was similar to what he'd done previously in Houston, merging the new and the old, and innovative design with traditional form.
After Color Homes purchased two sets of Zamore's up+dn plans from Hometta, the architect offered pro bono consulting for the duration of the project so the builder-developer could stay on budget. Construction affordability and long-term efficiency are key selling points for up+dn homes, which feature Energy Star-rated appliances, water-saving fixtures and double-glazed windows and doors. Standard wood frame components are easy to assemble, and building materials and finishes-environmentally friendly, affordable and durable-are classic and modest. Efficiency is increased by centrally locating bathrooms and kitchen so plumbing shares a common vertical.
The homes were built for less than $100 per square foot. In Houston, typical custom home construction starts at $120 per square foot.
"It has been an honor working on these socially beneficial projects, whether for a family in need and or a means to plant a seed in a neighborhood to hopefully awaken people that architecture makes a difference in peoples lives," says Zamore.
Other members of the A&D industry are pitching in to enhance the lives of those less fortunate across the globe, too. Click the links below to see additional firms who are active in giving back to the community.