Title page for ETD etd-12172006-224316

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Steed, Travis Gibson
Author's Email Address steed@vt.edu
URN etd-12172006-224316
Title Four Family Houses in a College Town
Degree Master of Architecture
Department Architecture
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Rott, Hans Christian Committee Chair
Galloway, William U. Committee Member
Wheeler, Joseph Committee Member
  • insulating concrete forms
  • cube house
  • family house
Date of Defense 2006-11-07
Availability unrestricted
This thesis began as a study in creating good family houses in a town built for students. It evolved into a study of the form of the houses themselves. The nature and qualities of the site generated the form the buildings ultimately would take.

The site is a south facing slope with distant mountain views that improve as the viewer ascends. The orientation allows for a line of buildings along the east-west axis where each can enjoy the benefits of unobstructed southern glazing. The slope offers the opportunity to create a proper base upon which to place the houses. This base provides a level, more usable site and creates a new horizon which edits the view below.

The houses are four subdivided cubes elevated above the shared semicircular base. One half of each cube is divided into three floors, the other half is open from floor to roof and contains the large open staircase winding up to the upper floors. One has an opportunity to experience the full scale of the cube, both from the bottom looking up and as one ascends through it. The southern glass wall allows for passive solar heating in the winter and takes maximum advantage of the mountain views. The remaining three walls are punctured only where necessary to bring light to the more private rooms. This focuses attention to the southern view and lessens the awareness of the houses on either side. The result is efficient use of the land with perceived seclusion.

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