House 11 – The Usonian House

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THE USONIAN HOUSE

This is house based on the Usonian homes that Frank Lloyd Wright designed in the 1930s. The Usonian homes were intended to be homes within reach for average Americans, not just the wealthy. That’s not a bad goal to have. Far too often architecture is considered the realm of the elite. But, great design can improve everyone’s life. So, why should it be limited to a select few?

Via Wikipedia:

Usonian is a term usually referring to a group of approximately sixty middle-income family homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright beginning in 1936 with the Jacobs House. The “Usonian Homes” were typically small, single-story dwellings without a garage or much storage, L-shaped to fit around a garden terrace on odd (and cheap) lots, with native materials, flat roofs and large cantilevered overhangs for passive solar heating and natural cooling, natural lighting with clerestory windows, and radiant-floor heating. A strong visual connection between the interior and exterior spaces is an important characteristic of all Usonian homes.

Of all the remarkable work Frank Lloyd Wright produced, I think his designs for the Usonian homes were among his most forward thinking and creative.

Feel free to download the pdf package of this concept package for free! – CLICK HERE.

HOUSE TYPE: Three bedroom / 2 bath

FEATURES: Rain Barrels, Fireplace, Dining Nook, 2-car Garage, Vaulted ceilings in all bedrooms and living spaces, Exterior Deck, Eat-in counter in kitchen, Skylight in Bathroom.

SIZE: 1688 Heated square feet + 412 square foot garage + 195 square foot deck

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  • http://twitter.com/Alexandrafunfit Alexandra Williams

    Good thing I”m not an architect because that house does not appeal to me. Those grey things look like supermarket parking stops. I hope I didn’t hurt your Usonian feelings.

    • http://www.coffeewithanarchitect.com/ Jody Brown

      Oh well, can’t win them all, I guess, Could I interest you in some of my less angsty work?
      And you could never hurt my Usonian feelings A,

  • izzy darlow

    What, no North arrow!?

    I’m assuming the low side of the house is facing South (and therefore the Sol). I only make a big deal about it because it appears the concept harvests rainwater. If that why not solar, both passive and aggressive?

    You of course recognize the humor in that last question.

    • http://www.coffeewithanarchitect.com/ Jody Brown

      pfft… passive and aggressive. I’m stealing that.
      & sure, let call the lowside south.

  • Jon Podschun

    What computer program do you use for these? I am a college student studying architecture and I use Chief X4 and AutoCAD13 (mainly because I won them in a contest and I cannot afford much else..) This doesnt appear to be Chief but it seems to be something close to it. Also, any tips for someone going into architecture?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004594806646 Stephen Jones

    Can I buy these plans?

    • http://www.coffeewithanarchitect.com/ Jody Brown

      Hi Stephen!

      So glad you like the home plan. This one is one of my favorites!. You can download the concept package for free here -> http://www.jodybrownarchitecture.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/usonian-house-11.pdf

      Plus, if you’d like a more detailed set of plans (suitable for building permits, and construction) those can be purchased as well. Just shot me an email and I’ll give you the details – jody@jodybrownarchitecture.com

      Thanks for stopping by,
      J

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004594806646 Stephen Jones

        Wonderful Jody! Thanks very much!

  • Jan

    How much would it cost to build a home like this?

    • http://www.coffeewithanarchitect.com/ Jody Brown

      Hey Jan! Way too many variables to answer that definitively, but $200-$250/S.F. is a good estimate to start with. That would put this one around $400,000.

  • Montanaandy

    Absolutely love Usonian design and you have done a very nice job with this one. How can anyone not love Usonian – classic FLW, no :) This plan would work great on the 16 acre lot where we are planning on building (downsizing). For my purposes, the rear of the home would face North/Northwest & I would flip the garage entry from the West side to the East side. The only thing missing for me/us would be a mudroom off of the garage which we need in these parts (Montana) + basement space (which would not be in keeping with true Usonian design but oh well). Would also have to agree that I would prefer something such as stone pillars instead of the concrete rain barrels. Keep the Usonian designs coming!

    • http://www.coffeewithanarchitect.com/ Jody Brown

      Thx Andy!

  • http://interior-deluxe.com/ Ingo

    This home is beautiful! Great design!

    • http://www.coffeewithanarchitect.com/ Jody Brown

      Thanks! Glad you like it. When can we start construction?

  • Freiluft

    What’s missing: 1) A Usonian house consisted of two wings off a masonry/stone core, the center of which was the fireplace. Your fireplace is mere decoration. Wright would have included a second fireplace behind the first in the bedroom/office 2). As far as I know, Wright wasn’t fond of shed roofs, and he certainly varied the roofline, enabling clerestory windows in bedrooms, for instance, and the kitchen had a much higher ceiling and a massive skylight to compensate for the lack of windows. The chimney was always quite prominent, essentially the visual anchor for the whole house 3) The public face of a Usonian had few windows, while the private space was almost all glass, open to the outdoors. You have a series of separate rooms. There is no organic flow, for instance, from the dining “nook” to the living room, which you’d have if you switched out the overly large entry porch with the dining “nook.” Look at Wright’s designs again. 4) Wright would have had double French doors opening to the terrace, not just a single door. 5) A Usonian had a carport, not a garage, either cantilevered or supported by a storage room, usually also masonry.

    Otherwise, I find the master suite layout rather clumsy with lots of dead space for a hallway. I’d stick the bath and closet to the left of the bedroom or run both out the back to enclose a terrace. Since none of your plumbing is back to back, it wouldn’t matter where you put it in this layout. How do you plan to vent the dryer on an inside wall? Or keep clothes clean for a family of four with one of those little dryer on top of the washer combos?

    So all in all, what you have is a suburban ranch with a shed roof, not a Usonian. No horizontal sweep, no pleasing lines, and heaven only knows how Wright would have included the rain barrels — perhaps half buried them and then put brick planters around to disguise them.

  • MissAdventure56

    Jody, Did you ever build this house?

    • http://www.coffeewithanarchitect.com/ Jody Brown

      Nope, not yet. You wanna build it?

  • Kinaster

    I love the inspired design. FLW is my favorite! Here’s my question. (putting this out into the universe…) I will have the finances necessary to build a Usonian type home and love that you have laid the ground work for something that speaks to me!

    Here’s my question. I am in LOVE with using shipping containers for homes and will (again out to the universe) have a shipping container mobile home park. Have you worked with shipping containers before as home structures?

    • http://www.coffeewithanarchitect.com/ Jody Brown

      Thanks for the FLW Usonian love! I appreciate it.
      Using shipping containers are a popular design idea lately, but the jury’s still out on whether they provide any real savings (in my opinion). Once you connect all the plumbing, electrical systems, and HVAC systems you need, and deal with the minimum wall, roof, and crawlspace insulation needed for a home, the shipping container itself doesn’t provide much extra. You almost have to build a “house” around the shipping container to make it work. You might look into using manufactured or custom built “Tiny Home” designs for a mobile home park instead. Just my 2 cents worth. Good luck out there!