Partner With Us

Rural Studio is working with an initial cohort of established builders and housing providers who are interested in building Front Porch Initiative homes within their existing service area(s). This first round of Field Test Partners will receive the design and instructional documents needed to construct the home, or homes, of their choice from our product line of homes. Rural Studio will also provide the partners with technical assistance before, during, and after construction. While Front Porch Initiative pilot projects will utilize the applied research of Auburn University Rural Studio students, Field Test Partners will not work directly with our students on the design and construction of homes. Instead, partners will harness the applied research undertaken by Auburn University students to expand the impact of the work beyond Rural Studio’s service area.

In addition to our current partners, Rural Studio is looking for our next round of Field Test Partners (experienced builders or housing providers) to implement Front Porch Initiative pilot projects. Each partner will build the home(s) utilizing their established delivery method. For example, a Habitat for Humanity affiliate might act as the general contractor on a project and build the home using predominately unskilled volunteer labor. We are looking to partner with organizations that have:

  1. Organizational capacity & resiliency. Partners will be expected to have a demonstrable portfolio of work in single-family home creation. These pilot projects are intended as a tool for helping refine design communication for the home products and, therefore, we expect unforeseen challenges will need to addressed during the process. We are looking for partners who have the flexibility and resiliency to work with us to address and overcome those challenges as well as provide regular feedback through the course of the project.
  2. Community need. The Front Porch Initiative has designs for 1- and 2-bedroom homes in the under $100,000 price range. Rural Studio would like to work with partners whose clients and communities could benefit from our products.
  3. Ability to construct the homes without design modifications. The homes have been designed to optimize climactic performance in the mixed-humid climate of West Alabama as well as the area’s social and cultural environment. We will work with our field test partners to respond to local conditions with a limited range of vetted options for foundation type, exterior cladding, and other modifications that do not affect the performance of the home. We are looking for partners who are interested in building the homes as-designed.
  4. Ability to construct the home without policy modifications. Organizations should consult local codes, policies, and ordinances to determine wither the pilot project can be completed under current regulations. For example, zoning codes must allow for the construction of smaller homes (approximately 500 square feet for 1-bedroom homes and 950 square feet for 2-bedroom homes) or have an avenue through which the homes can be constructed (as ADUs, in cottage court development, etc.)
  5. Ability to construct the pilot project within a given timeframe. Construction will need to be managed by the builder or housing provider. Rural Studio will not be able to provide labor or construction management on these pilot projects.

We would like to understand which aspects of the project are universal and what is specific across different areas and delivery methods. We are seeking partners who are working across the spectrum of delivery methods from charity, to subsidized or self-help, to for-profit ventures, and everything else in between.

Read the latest news and updates on our Front Porch Initiative Blog!

If you are interested in being a Field Test Partner, please fill out our Partnership Questionnaire or contact us at frontporch@auburn.edu.

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