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The Adopt a $20k house program is a charitable project by Rural Studio which is a part of the College of Architecture, Design and Construction at Auburn University.

In the past, I’ve featured some of Rural Studio’s work before. In fact, it’s one of my favorite stories which dates back to July 2, 2010 and it’s titled Students Design/Build 400 Sq. Ft. Home for $20k.

The school builds tiny and small homes for only $20,000 in materials while providing affordable housing to those in need in the area while students are getting hands on design and construction experience. They also get a chance to give while doing it. On top of all that, recipients for affordable housing get access to night classes for continuing adult education.

$20k House Program Helping Students And Homeless


Image © CitizenArchitect/YouTube

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Two weeks ago, I wrote about the LumenHaus, a small, energy-efficient tiny house prototype by Virginia Tech. With its very high-tech features, it’s a neat example, but its $450-650,000 price tag puts it out of the reach of most of us.

But another university group has been focusing on designing small houses with a much, much lower price tag. That’s the Rural Studio at Auburn University.

The Rural Studio is a long-running design-build program that does most of its work in rural Hale County, Alabama. The Rural Studio’s 20K House project has produced a series of houses, twelve so far, so named because they’re designed to be built for $20,000. While some have met this budget and others haven’t, they are all interesting examples of simple but well-designed dwellings.


Roundwood House. Photo credit: Rural Studio

Take, for example, the Roundwood House. Its designers wanted to explore building applications for “thinnings”, small-diameter timbers that are removed to encourage forest health but are too small to be milled into conventional lumber.

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