Terri Meyer Boake B.E.S. B.Arch. M.Arch.
Associate Professor School of Architecture University of Waterloo


Arch 384:
Habitat for Humanity

2005 Build Underway!

Problem statement:
"Habitat for Humanity is an independent, charitable, faith-based housing program dedicated to the elimination of poverty housing by building homes in partnership with families in need. We build simple, decent, and affordable houses and provide interest-free mortgages to families who would otherwise not be able to purchase their own home. The Habitat program is about home ownership and providing a long-term solution designed to break the poverty cycle."

Course Outline:
This elective offers students the opportunity to participate in a Habitat for Humanity Build.

For 2005 we have a very special opportunity to take part in that will very much change the running of this build. Carolyn Bilson, who is completing her M.Arch., chose to use the build process of Habitat for her research, following her participation in the Inge House Build in 2003. She subsequently worked on and documented numerous builds around southern Ontario, identifying problems and potentialities in the process. Her research began to focus on the possiblity of addressing some of the coordination and "lack of experienced workers" issues, through methods of pre-fabrication. She has just received permission from KW Habitat to take charge of one of their Cambridge Builds and create a pre-fabricated dwelling.

The architecture students involved in this build will be working under Carolyn's direction to prefabricate the panels (floors, wall, roof, etc.) in the shop at the school during Friday afternoons of May and June. Each of the 30 students will work for 3 afternoons out of the 6 (dates: May 6, 13, 20, 27 and June 3) to prefab the pieces. The house will be erected over two 3 day weekends (all involved) -- June 17, 18, 19 and June 24, 25, 26. This house will be going up alongside another by Habitat that will be conventionally built. It should be interesting to see the difference.

We are still working out the coordination issues with Iconography and Studio for the two blitz weekends. However the elective will be complete as of June 26, so "out of the way" so to speak in July during deadline time.

Water, snacks and lunch are provided for the day shifts on the blitz builds. Supper is NOT provided. You are responsible for arranging transportation to and from the build. The Cambridge address should be available soon.

Images from our builds:



The following forms need to be downloaded, filled out and returned to Sue as soon as possible. She will collect them and send them on to Habitat.

The hours involved in the build have been described above. Carolyn Bilson is considered to be "in charge" and will be taking attendance and preparing an accurate count of hours. You will receive a CR (credit) type grade for this course. If you are considered greatly deficient in participation hours, you will receive 32%. How many hours of deficiency is too many depends upon your excuse and perception of your efforts. Be prepared for 100% attendance or let another student take the limited places in this course.


1. The "what I know how to do to help" Application form***NOT READY YET FOR THE CAMBRIDGE BUILD!!!
2. The Habitat Waiver Form


1. The standard Field Trip Form
2. Notes of explanation from UW about Field Trips (guidelines: to read but not to be sent to Sue)

-green patch safety boots (mandatory)
-hard hat
-a water bottle
-even though it is likely to be quite hot, you need to cover up both to prevent sunburn as well as to protect your skin from cuts and scrapes. Long pants are necessary. If you end up on the insulating crew, long sleeves are a safety MUST.

E-mail me! I will be dropping in and out of the build during the scheduled times to see how things are progressing and take some shots of hard work!



last updated June 25, 2005