As client, student, designer, and builder, Pyatt was charged with adapting the house to suit the needs of his growing family (he was newly married at the time with a baby on the way) while fulfilling the exploratory goals of his school program.
Luckily for the architect-in-training, the older, working-class neighborhood he lived in had no zoning or style restrictions. Without much money to spend on the project Pyatt set out to keep the bones of the old house while adding a new wing containing a kitchen, pantry, bedroom, bath, and laundry room. “I pretty much left the old part of the house alone, other than putting in all new windows, insulating the walls and ceiling, and completely recladding,” he says. Pyatt chose plywood in a rainscreen application as the cladding for the old part of the house and corrugated metal for the new box, as well as a standing seam roof. All the cladding arrived at the site precut and predrilled based on CAD drawings. “It all fit together like a puzzle,” says Pyatt. Also like puzzle pieces were the walls themselves, which were made of prefabricated Agriboard—a brand of structured insulated panels (SIPs) made of straw. Prefabricated in West Texas, the panels arrived and the walls were in place in just four hours. “That was a great day,” says Pyatt. “And because of the prefabrication, we managed to have almost zero waste.”