A Placemaking Journal

The Seeds of Permanence: Building a multi-century home

For the past 18 months, PlaceShakers has been covering the work of my friend, Clay Chapman, and his quest to build a near-permanent, structural masonry home for a price accessible to the middle class. I wrote this introduction when he was breaking ground and, later, when the shell of his test home was completed, I posted a follow-up.

That house, which launched his “Hope for Architecture” initiative, is now complete and Clay’s been engaged to build a new house — a modest variation of the original HFA house — for a new client.

In an effort to help everyone understand just what’s involved in his approach to structural masonry, and just how much it differs from conventional, stick-built construction, he produced an animation sequence illustrating all the steps required up until the point where conventional framing and finishing takes over.

Curious what it takes to build a house with a multi-century design life? Here’s 2:35 you’ll be glad you invested:

Scott Doyon

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