As climate change threatens the existence of many major American cities, it is imperative that architectural design tackles sustainability at all scales. In recent decades, sustainable practices have been implemented in large-scale civic and commercial projects, however, they are not commonly found in small-scale residential projects due to the high up-front cost of developing and implementing new technologies, as well as the difficulty of changing culturally-embedded building practices. The present lack of affordable, sustainable options for small-scale construction and single-family homes presents an opportunity for innovation and experimentation.

We are GreenCore, an architecture design studio investigating new ways to introduce playful, modular small-scale living in an urban context. By experimenting with the Accessory Dwelling Unit typology, Greencore addresses issues of density, sustainability, and affordability through an adaptable design. The result of our research is three prototypical Mod-Homes, Accessory Dwelling Units, commonly referred to as ADU’s or granny flats, address the increasing need for housing in rapidly growing cities, without contributing to urban sprawl. ADUs maintain the visual character of a neighborhood while supporting the existing communities and their culture.

Each Mod-Home design, developed by the Greencore studio, integrates water, energy, and waste management systems while showcasing the efficiency of prefabricated construction. The structural and spatial triangles seen in the plans are derived from a shared modular, triangular grid. All three designs employ the same construction method and system design guidelines while responding to site-specific requirements. Mod-Home’s modularity and ability to be prefabricated using CNC technologies allow it to be an affordable option for homeowners to build and profit from, spurring economic growth.

Brinton Freeze
Nicole Genelman
Claire Greene
Osvaldo Herrera Garcia
Varsha Iyer
Alex Kelley
Campbell Kraemer
Chon Fai Kuok
Christine Lee
Shen Ni
Nolan Summerhill
Amelia Webb
Ania Yee-Boguinskaia

Spring 2022 Design Excellence Award Winner

Advanced Design Studio
Instructor: Jing Liu and Claire Townley