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1968 Memphis Home Will Be Remade Into a Flexible, Sunny Haven


As a result of the Home Today, Home Tomorrow design competition, a house in Tennessee will be fully retrofitted for a veteran family.

The “Re-Defining Home: Home Today, Home Tomorrow” competition invited architects and designers around the country to submit plans to renovate a home in Memphis, which will be gifted to a veteran family this fall. Hosted by Home Matters, AARP, the AARP Foundation, and the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation, the competition asked entrants to design a structure that accommodates aging-in-place and incorporates Universal Design principles, as at least one member of the receiving family will be over the age of 50. The budget for the remodel was $75,000.

The three winning design teams were announced today. The first-place prize goes to Gabriel Espinoza, Carmen Velez, and Timothy Gargiulo, three junior architects practicing in New York City. Their proposal will be integrated into the home, and the renovated structure will be unveiled in November 2016.

The existing dwelling featured a number of small, cramped rooms and tired finishes. Far from accessible to a person of limited mobility, the layout presented a clear challenge to the entrants of the competition to create a more dynamic spatial flow. Another obstacle: the house was only accessible via several steps up to the front door, meaning that if a resident required a wheelchair at any point in the future, they wouldn’t have a way to enter their home. The point of the challenge was to come up with a flexible design solution that wouldn’t require extensive retrofits down the line, ensuring that the residence would be a comfortable place for a family to live for the long haul.

Get a glimpse of the winning submission below, and head to Home Matters for more details about the first, second, and third place entries.

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The winning design highlights community interaction. Planter beds in the front yard not only give the residents the opportunity to take up gardening (a hobby with proven benefits for the elderly), but the garden also has the potential to become a communal space that invites neighbors’ participation.

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The main intervention proposed by the winners is a glass addition on one end of the structure; along with introducing ample natural light, it also further connects the residence to the neighborhood. A deck with outdoor dining tables flanks this glass room, and a carport provides sheltered parking off the street.

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By changing the grade of the site, the architecture team eliminates the need for steps, so the entrance to the house is flush with the front yard.

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Additional garden boxes are installed off the rear facade. Photovoltaic panels top the carport, allowing future cost savings for the residents.

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In addition to the exterior sun screens, interior shades can be lowered to limit exposure and visibility when desired.


In the video above, hear how the winning team came up with their proposal.

Tags: Blog  Success  Health 

This article is written by Allie Weiss, the associate editor at Dwell, where she writes and edits feature and front-of-book articles for the print magazine.

Photo Credits:

Photos courtesy of IBI Group – Gruzen Samton: Gabriel Espinoza, Carmen Velez and Timothy Gargiulo


Home Matters is a movement that seeks to re-define Home and create a New American Dream.

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