That steel frame on Centenary St. that roused some West U residents to name-calling and concern-raising 2 years ago now has a steel house built around it — and a single father and his two sons inside. Still, says architect Cameron Armstrong, the build wasn’t as smooth as it might have been: “[C]ertain neighbors were actually quite hostile — they heckled the subcontractors (and not always from across the street!), and made numerous frivolous complaints to the police about things like (non-existent) parking violations by workers. . . . They thought they were living on a street with a predictable visual future, which turned out not to be the case.” Adds Armstrong: “[I]t’s hard to identify substantive objections. . . . The good news is that most of the neighbors are just fine with how the design turned out.”
Here’s Armstrong on the design process for the home, which ended up being built by owner Jeff Daniel himself:
Over a few months, we developed a design intended to combine extreme durability, low maintenance, and energy efficiency, with openness to the outdoors and a careful accommodation of functions. Our goal was to enable the building to have a healthy, low-cost lifespan potentially at least 4 times longer than is typical for recent Houston construction.
And here’s how that turned out:
. . . We turned to the pre-fab type of steel frame I’ve worked with over the last decade, and added features like space-suit insulation (recently commercialized by NASA), radiant barrier blankets, high-velocity air conditioning, and a roof capable of shaping ambient air movements into steady, cooling breezes. With a few exceptions, there are no organic materials within 12 inches of the exterior skin so that common problems for stick-built houses, like mold, mildew and rot are unlikely.
The stairs, says Armstrong, are wrapped in pine that was “salvaged from an old Kentucky tobacco warehouse.” It leads to a landing and the bedrooms:
- Centenary [Cameron Armstrong]
- Inside West U’s controversial metal house [Houston Chronicle]
- Previously on Swamplot: Tin House Panic Grips West U
Photos: Cameron Armstrong