Residential design provides a rich testing ground for architectural innovation. Intimate scales and specific programs inspire distinctive homes, and comparatively small budgets are catalysts for exploring nontraditional materials. Modern Shoestring
proves that building a contemporary house can be affordable and shows how constraints actually stimulate the most creative design solutions.
Eighteen residential projects are presented, with emphasis on the goals of the owners, the site, and the cost in the design process. Collections determine floor plans, observatories are built for starry rural nights, and found and industrial materials such as highway construction remnants, laboratory counters, plastic water bottles, and discarded chalkboards keep costs low while imbuing structures with character. These ingenious designs range in cost from $50 to $220 per square foot and represent geographical settings from Los Angeles to Anchorage to East Hampton.