The Crafted House

A two-story concrete structure stands out amongst the sea of wooden houses along the east side of the University of Central Oklahoma campus. The modern-looking house with its curved roof is the brainchild of architect, George Winters.

“Smaller houses are needed in Edmond,” Winters said. “I don’t build homes for a living, but I wanted to experiment with various materials––and the best way to experiment is on yourself.”

Winters owns the housing lot, which is zoned for multiple rental units to accommodate college students. He designed the concept of the house, and then spent four years building it as time allowed. He and his daughter did much of the work, and they hired quality tradesmen to work on the house during their gaps between other projects.

Almost “Green” House

Although Winters doesn’t describe the house as a true “green” house, it has many environmentally-sensitive aspects. “Most of the materials are natural, with combinations of wood, concrete and metal,” Winters said. “The exterior walls are composed of concrete, which is a good insulator for helping with Oklahoma’s great temperature swings. Environmental concepts were not the driving factor behind the house design, but I think this house is a good example of how to be conscious of the environment and be good stewards of our resources.”

Winters lived in the completed house for a while before he rented it out. “The house suits my personal style. I like mid-century modern design, which is experiencing a comeback. The design is really more akin to commercial construction than residential. It’s durable and aesthetically pleasing, but for me, a weakness of modern design is that it can be a bit cold and not cozy. I tried to incorporate elements that would warm the house up and feel more comfortable and inviting.”

Modern AND Warm

Some of those personal touches include the wooden ceiling and the stairs made of harvested, Eastern red cedar. One of the interior doors is made of industrial felt, which makes the space acoustically softer. The windows allow for plenty of natural light.

“I believe that buildings should be designed to respond to where they are constructed,” Winters said. “The orientation and location impacts the design, and window placement should adjust so that you get nice views. This house is in a tightly-spaced urban environment, so the windows are relatively small for privacy, but they are carefully placed to catch the light and control the views both from the inside and outside.”

Experimental Lifestyle

As one of the co-founders of Studio Architecture, Winters often works with unique building projects––but usually on a much grander scale. Some of his important projects include Roman Nose State Park Lodge, Quail Springs Baptist Church, and New Covenant United Methodist Church in Edmond.

“Architecture is not just a career, it can be a lifestyle filled with exploration,” Winters said, describing the on-going learning process. “The genesis of this house was an opportunity to experiment. When things didn’t work, we relied on the skill of the tradesmen and women to help determine a new course of action. I don’t desire to rebuild this house over and over, but I will reuse certain aspects and apply lessons learned toward future projects. That’s part of the fun and excitement of designing. It’s a house that was crafted.”

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