From the inside out and the outside looking in, here’s a peek through the semi-see-through mesh facade of University of Houston architecture professor Zui Ng’s Shotgun Chameleon house, located just east of the intersection of Cleveland and Gillette streets in the Freedmen’s Town National Historic District. The 2-story 3-bedroom home was named Architectural Record‘s house of the month last month, and was originally designed for a 2006 expo of building ideas for post-Katrina New Orleans. The space can be used as a duplex or a split home-office setup thanks to a set of exterior stairs leading to the upper floor.
The design’s appearance can also be adapted to blend in with different neighborhoods and urban settings. The metal mesh, which covers most of the upstairs balcony on the street-facing side of the building, could provide a scaffolding for leafy cover, or could get wooden siding tacked over it to help the structure fit in with similarly-adorned neighbors. Ng says the front could even go commercial, with the upstairs hosting a billboard for a downstairs business, or go high-tech, with options ranging from solar panel arrays to breeze-catching louver arrangements.
The Chameleon is shown above between a metal-skinned contemporary house and an older wood-sided home. Here’s a view from the back side, which is shorter due to the structure’s sloped roof:
Ng says the house is also designed with shifting seasonal weather conditions in mind — the roof is angled to block out sun in the summer but let it in during the winter, and all of the rooms have multiple windows for cross-ventilation, which isn’t blocked too much by the mesh or by the wooden slats that cover the outside stairs and the side of the home:
The high-ceilinged upstairs balcony seen here at the front of the house sits atop a much shorter porch, and opens into a living room and kitchen space on the second floor:
The interior staircase contains some built-in storage spaces:
Here’s a look at the upstairs floorplan, which includes a master suite:
The master bedroom looks out over the back yard of the house:
And here’s the downstairs layout, including the other two bedrooms and additional storage space by the porch:
- Shotgun Chameleon [Architectural Record]
Images, courtesy of the architect: Paul Hester (photos), Zui Ng (plans)