Middle America


The American prairie has provided a century of architectural inspiration – open views, waving grass, and ribbons of roadway stir a boundless optimism. But as aquifers dry and desertification advances, prairies begin to sponsor a new reality. The prarieHouse adapts to this future, using the ubiquitous infrastructure left over by the ebbing tide of the oil industry.


“The prarieHouse offers a unique vision for a post-petroleum world.”
– Andrew Michler, eVolo


Where classic lofts are created from disused factory buildings, the prarieHouse imagines reuse of outmoded gas stations. The station canopy provides the bones and broad shading eaves. Reinforcement of the existing columns allows the living space to be suspended protectively from beneath the roof. Wraparound clerestory windows provide bright interior while avoiding direct solar gain. Large decks cantilevering fore and aft provide 360-degree views.


The roof features a micro prairie with below-grade irrigation that thrives with minimal watering. Twin ventilation and water storage stacks with integrated photovoltaics making the house a showcase for renewable energy and sustainability. Below the house, electric vehicle charging replace where gas pumps once stood.


Architect: Specht Harpman

  • Similar Projects