“The selection process is a lesson in true architecture democracy. No matter how famous the architect, if the design does not meet the requirements of the people, be it functional or cultural, it will not be selected,” says Joe Addo, founder of Ghanabased firm Constructs, LLC. Not only do the homeowners get to choose the design and program, they also pick the color palette. “I didn’t like all those loud colors, so I chose the honey wheat,” says homeowner Arcola Sutton. Though Sutton is concerned about the waist-high grass in the neighboring cityowned lots, she can’t complain about the energy bills for her own home. “It’s a beautiful thing; I’ve never paid more than $60 a month,” she says.
Sutton’s home is stick-built while subsequent Constructs homes use modular units, which MIR is hoping will be even more efficient. Other changes revolved around the stair design. “We attempted to cantilever wood treads supported by steel angles and threaded rods, and found we had to reinforce the stair with a steel stringer,”says Howell. “Eventually we developed awood system that allows the stairs to appearsuspended by the threaded rods without prefabricated materials.”