Cantilever tale | Rock Candy

Cantilever tale

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The Pettaway neighborhood east of Main Street cut a ribbon on another innovative affordable home today: the 2nd Design/Build home of the University of Arkansas School of Architecture. Fourth and fifth year students whittled 12 designs to one, the cantilever structure that is now a reality at 1805 Commerce St.

The second floor is placed at right angles to the first floor, creating a shaded entrance on the ground level and a patio on the second story. (In the photo above, students are removing non-load bearing poles from the front of the house as a conclusion to the ribbon-cutting ceremony; that's the mayor and Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corp. president Stacy Williams you see fleeing from under the second story.) Student Matt Poe came up with the design; a Colorado engineer helped make it work. The students fabricated the two sections of the house in a Fayetteville warehouse. Cranes lifted the sections into place last week; the home ought to be ready for occupation in a month or so.

UA Architecture Department head Marlon Blackwell called the house the "second volume in what's going to be the Greatest Hits" of the University's architecture school.

Besides its cantilever construction, the other striking feature of the 1,000-square-foot house is the north wall of the second story, made entirely of a barely opaque material that resembles glass but is in fact a polymer material called Polygal, said to provide greater insulation than glass. The first floor is the kitchen and living area and the second floor has two bedrooms and a second bath bath.

The house has not been sold, but Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corp. head Scott Grummer said there's a waiting list for homes in Pettaway. It will sell for around $125,000. The first UA Design/Build home is at 1519 Commerce St.

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