KU architecture students build two eco-friendly houses by hand, now for sale

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — Nine months ago, it was an empty plot of land.

Now, there are two brand new eco-friendly homes ready to be purchased by homeowners, thanks to a group of KU architecture students.

A day before graduation, these KU architecture students are putting the finishing touches on their year-long project.

“Every time I drive by here I’m just so proud of me and my fellow students, because I know how much blood, sweat and tears that we’ve put into the project,” graduate student Grace Kennedy said.

The project was part of a capstone masters class called Studio 804. In the class, graduate students picked out and bought a plot of land, collaborated on a design for a house and then built it by hand, from the ground up, using recyclable material.

“The metal that we have from there is from bridge steel. It is standing seem 24 gauge, and it’s 100% recyclable. The decking and siding is from Robi Decking. It’s sassafras. All the contract we use is fly ash. It’s also sustainable, completely 100% recyclable materials,” Kennedy said.

When these houses are sold, the money is funded back into the Studio 804 account. So next year’s students can buy a plot of land to build on.

“We sacrificed so much. We don`t have an outside life outside of this. At the end of the day, we wouldn’t have it any other way. This is something we’ll think about for the rest of our lives,” Jared Heinzerling said.

This project wasn’t without its challenges.

Construction stopped during the winter months because of the constant snow.

“We had a pile of gravel that we were trying to put under the deck, and it was here for three and a half months because of the rain and the snow,” Heinzerling said.

There’s an open house this Saturday. The addresses of the houses are 1503 and 1501 Oak Hill Ave., Lawrence, Kansas. Both homes are on the market for more than $200,000.

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