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K-State Today

Division of Communications and Marketing
Kansas State University
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September 17, 2020

APDesign graduate student earns honorable mention in international design competition

Submitted by Thom Jackson

Natalie Grimm

Natalie Grimm, Highlands Ranch, Colorado, a fifth-year graduate student in architecture at Kansas State University's College of Architecture, Planning & Design, earned honorable mentions in the 2020 International Housing Design Student Competition, sponsored by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, or ACSA.

The competition challenge given was to answer to a project client. In response to the pandemic, the client decided to permanently transfer their software company to a completely remote status. In light of this transition, the client needs a space in their new home that is dedicated to work and provides adequate privacy and sound isolation. In this workspace, the client wants a space that has the ability to seal itself off from the rest of the home, providing privacy and sanitation in the event of visitors. The client has a spouse and two children and would like a home where the ritual of sanitation is integrated into the everyday flow.

The home designed by Grimm is programmatically divided into four bars: sleeping, entertainment, sanitation and utility. The entertainment bar is expressed through a tectonic roof plane in contrast to the masslike construction of the sleeping and sanitation bars. These bars are further separated by transitional circulation spaces, creating layers of isolation as well as sanitation. The primary entrance for the homeowner is located through the sanitation bar on the public circulation axis. This entry to the home offers the first layer of sanitation: on the left there is a wet room, and to the right is the progression of food sanitation. The entertainment bar houses the kitchen, dining and living areas. It is then extended out into an exterior entertainment room that is open to the views of the greenbelt. A circulation bar provides a physical and sound barrier between the rest of the home and the sleeping bar. The sleeping bar is an area of rest and self-care, housing the bedrooms and fitness area.

The site is in the suburb of West Oak Hill in Austin, Texas. The site is on a corner lot, allowing for the home to respond to the prevailing winds throughout the seasons. To the north of the site, a greenbelt stretches across the neighborhood, providing the home with peaceful northern views. Austin is in a humid subtropical climate. The home uses local materials such as limestone and cedar for construction, capitalizing on mass construction for passive cooling.

Architecture professor and department head Matthew Knox was the faculty advisor for Grimm.

Comments from the jury included, "Grimm is receiving an honorable mention due to the sensitive use of regional materials and strong Modernist forms and spaces the students produced for the project."

Natalie Grimm's project

Image of the home designed by Grimm.