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A variety of factors influence the architectural typologies of Houston: climatic, financial, municipal, and social. While Houston is known for its sprawling urban infrastructures and lack of zoning, the city has developed distinctive spatial expressions in response to the city’s regulatory environments. These everyday buildings—the elevated OFFICE-MAT, the DRIVE-IN courtyard apartment, and the roofed SPORT-COURT—produce precise typological adaptations to Houston’s ecological and economic forms. Tectonic and formal strategies such as over-large roofs, courtyard interiors, and long-span structures create imaginative relationships to the ground, the street, the sun, and the weather. As an ongoing documentation and typological analysis project, HOUSTON-VARIATIONS imagines an alternative trajectory to the future development of architecture in Houston, making visible these modest typologies and middle scales in the city.  


HOUSTON-VARIATIONS is the recipient of the 2022 RDA Houston Design Research Grant. ​

Project Leads: Daniel Jacobs, Brittany Utting

Design Team: Jianing Cui, Jane Van Velden, Christopher Sanders

Photographer: Sean Fleming

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