Engaging a community to build for the future

When the Saint Louis chapter of Habitat for Humanity needs help creating safe, affordable housing, our designers stepped up to plate. A team from our Open Hand Studio was tasked with the infill of 10 vacant lots in a neighborhood development known as La Saison.

What they do

Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis provides an opportunity for families living in substandard rental housing with the opportunity to help build — through “Sweat Equity” — and then purchase a home they can afford to maintain.


Houses Built For La Saison



Hours of "Sweat Equity" Per Home



Project Cost

How we're helping

Our work focused on various pre-planning projects to help align the team at Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis with neighbors and future homeowners. This involved developing and running community meetings where we presented a range of options for residents and neighbors to imagine contemporary infill solutions that complemented and improved upon the existing development.

Our motivation was to consider sustainability metrics and constructability constraints and opportunities unique to a Habitat for Humanity project – encouraging a new design for the neighborhood. We were also very sensitive to the fact that the buildings (and occupants) should have a sense of belonging, and thus we needed to be considerate of context. By project’s end, we helped establish a site plan that the local chapter can use for future infill projects, involving community engagement and contemporary approaches to design solutions. A total of nine homes will be built when the two-phase project is complete.

Photos: Tyson M. Pruitt, stlouis-mo.gov