College of Architecture and Environmental Design Collaborates With Habitat for Humanity for Community Service

Kent State University students from this year’s fourth-year design studio pose for a photo with the owner of the home (fifth from right), which they helped design.Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design collaborated with Habitat for Humanity of Northern Columbiana County to build an affordable, high-performance home and provide students with a unique, hands-on architectural experience.

The design of the house began in fall 2012 in the fourth-year design studios of faculty members Lee Goodman, Jack Hawk and Joseph Ferut. Twenty-five prototype designs were developed based on the site’s size, orientation, topography and number of bedrooms. The designs had to follow strict requirements for square footage and budget, and they had to meet or exceed Energy Star requirements.

The construction of the house started in spring 2013 with the help of student volunteers. A super-insulated building shell, high R-value windows, air tightness, passive solar heating and passive cooling systems, and a state-of-the-art small load heating system contributed to low-energy costs for the structure.

The students worked together with other colleges, including the construction management department at the College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology, and tackled a critical issue with families operating on lower incomes.

“Students addressed a social need in their design efforts; architecture is and always has been a social art, and this project hit home with them,” says Ferut, an assistant professor in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. “Habitat helped them understand the real-world issues of designing affordable housing. For many students, this was one of the most challenging and rewarding projects in their academic career.”

A public open house was held on Oct. 27 in Leetonia, Ohio.

For more information about the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, visit

POSTED: Monday, December 9, 2013 12:00 AM
Updated: Friday, January 11, 2019 04:23 PM
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