Outline drawing of floor plan.

Outline drawing of floor plan.

[page 123]


It seemed clear that certain relocation problems could arise as a result of the combined processes of historic districting and the restoration of individual historic structures. We, therefore, decided to develop design proposals for low-income housing appropriate for this purpose. Three main criteria were involved:

(1) The need to relocate residents insofar as possible within the Barrio itself;

(2) The need to keep construction costs and rents at levels within the limited economic reach of present residents; and,

(3) The need to respond to local life-styles and the characteristics of Tucson's desert climate.

It was then decided that the most appropriate means to accomplish our goals would be through the development of a new medium--to high-density, low-rise housing systems suitable for use on some of the Barrio's substantial areas of vacant land.

The first stage of our system design development was concerned with the formulation of design objectives based on the goals and limits we set for the problem. Diagrammatically the design approach can be seen as:

Diagram of the design approach.


1. Physical - Economic.

A. Industrial techniques.
B. Financing
C. Hot-dry climate zone
D. Adaption to various housing situation.

Fig. 11.1. - Prefabricated Mechanical/Plumbing Core.


1. Standard bathroom plumbing fixtures.

2. Standard kitchen plumbing fixtures and cabinets.

3. Base for mechanical equipment. The furnace, evaporative cooler, and water heater will be sized for the particular unit. There is sufficient space to accommodate any size required.


1. Standard utility core unit.

2. Closet core for particular planning arrangements.


1. Standard base and upper cabinets for various kitchen designs.

2. Skylights in Kitchen and bathroom.

3. "Punch-out" walls for window openings (adaption to detached residence plans).

2. Social - Psychological

A. Spatial requirements
B. Scale
C. Life style.


1. Political

A. Zoning
B. Building Code.

2. Resources

A. Materials available locally
B. Local labor market.

3. Economic

A. Unit cost
B. Capital.

4. Attitude

A. Aesthetics.

Program Objectives

1. Lower cost of construction through design and utilization of a prefabricated utility core common to all proposals.

2. Create flexibility in planning of residential units by using the utility core in row houses, as well as detached residential layouts.

3. Respond to the needs of a low income family while maintaining the character of the historic area without the mere copying or duplication of existing historic structures.

With the above design objectives in mind, we formulated a prefabricated mechanical/plumbing utility core, as shown in the large-scale plans (See Fig. 11.1) then used it as a central element around which to organize 12-foot (one bedroom) and 24-foot (three bedroom) row house plans (Fig. 11.2), as well as two and three bedroom detached residential plans (Fig. 11.3)

George Hoppe

Bruce Lawrenz

[page 126]

Plan and longitudinal view; 1-bedroom and 3-bedroom rowhouse units.

Fig. 11.2 - One and three bedroom row house schemes employing the basic mechanical/plumbing core.

[page 127]

Plans of 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom detached residences.

Fig. 11.3 - Two and three bedroom detached residence schemes employing the basic mechanical/plumbing core.

[page 128]

An alternate housing system was formulated utilizing the "Mitchell" structural system developed by Prof. Neal Mitchell while on the faculty of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. There are four reinforced components made of light-weight cellular concrete, each of which may be lifted and placed by two men. These components are the column, tie beam, cantilever beam, and slab, forming square structural bays when erected. Non-bearing infill panels of low-cost, locally available materials are inset at the construction site (Figs. 11.4&11.7).

In the historic district, one-story dwellings of various configurations have been developed using this system (See Figs. 11.5&11.6). It should be noted that this system is capable of forming up to two, three or four-story units for more dense housing needs, applicable to areas outside the historic zone. In the plans illustrated, the bay containing the mechanical, plumbing and bathroom facilities may be a preassembled service module manufactured locally and transported to the site during erection of the structural frame. A fourteen foot bay was chosen for planning purposes and used in conjunction with a masonry street elevation.

Ron Watts

Fig. 11.4. - "Mitchell" industrial building system - structural bay.

Plans for 1- and 2-bedroom rowhouses.

Fig. 11.5. - One and two bedroom rowhouse schemes employing the "Mitchell" structural system.

[page 130]

Plan for 2-bedroom residential unit.

Fig. 11.6. - Two bedroom detached residence plan, employing the "Mitchell" structural system.

[page 131]

Cut-away view of continuous street front wall in the masonry tradition of the neighborhood, but in concrete block utilizing new methods which are without mortar joints, or virtually so.On folded page.

Fig. 11.7. - Within the flourishing future historic district, new building methods can be developed as appropriate solutions to the problem of infill housing on vacant lots or to replace demolished structures. That the new may be juxtaposed in harmonious relationship with the old, reinforcing and enhancing distinctive features, new building systems should conform to existing heights and setbacks, inviting a sensitive response to certain other design criteria, yet allowing freedom of choice among them. Shown here is a continuous street front wall in the masonry tradition of the neighborhood, but in concrete block utilizing new methods which are without mortar joints (Corning Glass) or virtually so (Threadline). The block is laid without level or line and requires no tamping, with a corresponding saving in labor costs. Stiffened at periodic doorway openings, folding back to create the characteristic recess, it is used here to form street facades in conjunction with the Neal Mitchell Associates' framing system, which is ideally suited to both self-help construction and row housing.


© Arizona Board of Regents