Building Usonia is the process of us designing an building homes using the New Usonian principles (see below). We began by designing our own house but with two babies on the way, it has been put on the back burner for a bit. However, we are still designing an building houses for other folks so check the details of New Usonianism below and give us a shout if you would like more information about us designing your house.
Usonia is a word used by Frank Lloyd Wright to describe efficient, affordable homes that connect people to nature. We are taking our own perspective on that idea and calling it New Usonia. You can read about that below.
We can only grow this with your support so make sure to follow us on your favorite platforms and share our videos!
Episode 2: Clearing the Property
In this episode we took down the dreaded green monster from The Upside Down... Kudzu. It was fun and our experiment worked. With the Kudzu gone, we could estimate the slope and get one step closer to breaking ground.
Episode 1: Buying Property
In this episode we go through the steps we took to find and buy property without an agent.
Maybe you want to do the same thing, or maybe you're just curious how we did it. Either way, Enjoy!
We want to create a guide for others to be able to build their own house. So, we have decided to document the process of designing and building ours.
We will go through the process of getting land, coming up with a design concept, building it, and moving in. We'll talk about ways to keep costs down and things to do yourself.
But we aren't stopping there!
After building our own house, we are going to keep designing and building other homes using the New Usonia concepts and document those projects the same way.
So if you want a house but don't want a cookie cutter or fixer upper, give us a shout in the "Become a Partner" section below and let's talk!
We want the show to be educational, entertaining, and encouraging, while highlighting beautiful design.
We are working on long term plans for small houses, medium houses, grow-able houses, and New Usonian Neighborhoods. So join us, follow us, reserve your spot for a house, or simply subscribe below and stay updated.
Thanks so much!
Become a partner!
Our partners will help make this project not only great to watch, but also a guide to all the people who follow our process in their own projects.
So whether you want to share your product with us, sponsor an ad, or just get involved and help out, let us know and we will be excited to chat with you!
Producing this will take time and money so if you want to help out financially but don't have anything to advertise, you can simply donate to help us pay the bills! If you do, make sure we have a way of getting in touch with you because we want to send a big ole Tennessee thank you!
New Usonia is a concept relating to residential design that we laid out to define principles for better middle class housing in the US.
The concept takes inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright’s original vision of Usonian homes that developed as affordable versions of his Organic Architecture.
New Usonia relates to a number of issues faced in the 21st century with how middle class houses are designed and built. The response of New Usonia is to improve the design standard for homes. It is not to be a stylistic revival of Frank Lloyd Wright homes, New Usonian Homes will likely look very different from Wright’s. It is to be a fresh look at the ideas of Organic Architecture being affordable to the middle class in the 21st Century.
Here are seven basic principles that layout the ideas of New Usonia:
Houses are for people. Every design decision is for the comfort and well being of the individuals who live there. A house should not isolate it’s people but connect them to each other and their neighbors. Therefore, the urban context of a New Usonian House should be considered.
Urbanism - For urban layout, we would look to New Urbanism rather than the original Usonian ideas with Broadacre City. Urbanism is important for a number of reasons including efficiency, conservation, and community
Nature is Key. A connection to nature is the first thing a house should do for its people. Too much time is spent indoors so for a house to serve its people, it should connect them to the outdoors. This translates in both the house and the site design.
Some methods of accomplishing this include but are not limited to: Direct views of nature | Natural light throughout the day | clerestory windows | indoor/outdoor spaces | porches | planned landscaping | seamless flow from indoor to outdoor
A house should be frugal with its material waste, designed in a way that uses and discards fewer materials.
A house should not be bloated like the McMansions of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Wasted space costs us (literally) tons of materials and hvac power. Both of which drain the homeowner’s income while growing the carbon footprint.
Storage is important and should be done so wisely in a way that helps the dweller cycle through what is stored, rather than stack on top of it and create clutter.
Houses are almost never lived in by only one unit of people who never change anything. Spaces should be designed to accommodate growth throughout the building’s life-cycle. Whether that means altering the space to fit the needs of a new phase in life, or changing to accommodate new people moving into the space.
Technology should be utilized to help the builders and people of a house.
Houses should strive to integrate technology in a way that will evolve with the house. (Unlike an intercom to the bedrooms that eventually quit's working)
Technologies that help the house operate efficiently or that make people's lives more simple should be utilized as much as possible.
“Affordable” is relative to a socio-economic context but it is extremely important that these houses are affordable to the average working person. Some compromises must be made to attain affordability but with the right balance, it can still be done well and follow these concepts. Everyone deserves good housing.
Ignore it. If everything listed above is done well, it will be a beautiful house. A house shouldn't be designed to fit a certain style, it should be designed for those elements mentioned above.
Furthermore, a New Usonian “style” should not come out of this, it is a concept for how to design a house, not for how it should look. It is important to remember that the goal is to design for living and growing well in the home. If that is done correctly, the “style” is irrelevant. In conclusion, good design to us means looking good while functioning perfectly.
The first house of Building Usonia will be the new home/office for Jacks Avenue.
Most updates will be seen on our channel and instagram feed but as the project goes on and is completed, we will dedicate a space just for the Jacks Usonia.