SOUTHFIELD — Lawrence Technological University has received a $25,000 Ford College Community Challenge grant that could revolutionize the production of affordable housing – starting with one new home in Pontiac.
The grant will help fund the construction of HOUSE02, a proof of concept home that will use the techniques developed over the past two years by LTU architecture professors Scott Shall, Jim Stevens, Ayodh Kamath, and Brian Oltrogge, and LTU architecture graduate students.
The goal is to build a home at a cost of $50 to $65 per square foot. That would put the cost of a modest, 1,000-square-foot home at $50,000 to $65,000 – not the $110,000 to $150,000 achieved through traditional construction methods, Shall said.
The techniques will make it more likely for affordable housing to attract financing on a large scale, as well. For a video of Lawrence Tech students and faculty discussing this issue, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8demrSIp0R0&feature=youtu.be.
The LTU professors and students worked with Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County on the research.
In addition to the Ford grant, an anonymous philanthropist has donated $6,000 and a city lot in Pontiac for the construction of HOUSE02.
“We’ve been working with students and professionals to figure out how digital fabrication can more rigorously inform the building delivery process used to make affordable housing,” Shall said. “Through our research, we have found ways to use computer simulation, digital fabrication, and products such as structural insulating panels and reclaimed material to reduce the cost and environmental footprint of affordable housing, as well as the time required to build the home.”
The Ford College Community Challenge (Ford C3) is a grant competition launched in 2008 when Ford Motor Company Fund reached out to its national network of colleges and universities and invited them to compete for grants based on local sustainability projects. Ford C3 works with partners in higher education that are focused on the critical areas of business, design and engineering. Ford C3 is designed to use school and company resources in creative ways, challenging schools and students to design projects that address pressing community needs and make more relevant connections with students. Ford C3 differs from many traditional college grant programs by requiring significant student input, involvement and leadership from beginning to end. As a result, winning proposals have a distinct student perspective on what it means to have a sustainable community. Ford C3 is an educational initiative of Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company. More details about the program and previous winners can be found at https://www.fordblueovalnetwork.org/ford-college-community-challenge.