Ball State University’s R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning (CAP) is hosting free public tours of an affordable, net-zero energy, eco-friendly duplex family home in Indianapolis designed by a team of Ball State’s CAP students and faculty. Located at 201 N. Temple Ave, in the Westminster/St. Philip Neri neighborhood on the city’s Near Eastside, the duplex—referred to as “Alley House”—eventually will be home for two families.

Public tours highlighting the sustainability and renewable energy aspects of Alley House will be given April 4-18, except Easter Sunday (April 9) and a few days set aside for private tours. On some public tour dates, there will be community-based events and fun, family-friendly activities. Please check the online schedule for specific tour dates, times, and activities, as information may be updated as needed throughout the tour period. Events of specific interest for media coverage are listed below.

Work done on Alley House is an example of how Ball State students and faculty make positive impacts—solving problems in ways that help people and strengthen communities.

“If we are going to be successful as planners, architects, engineers, financiers, and community developers, we must make it possible for under-resourced populations to access zero-energy, high-performance, quality-built residences such as the Ball State student-designed Alley House,” said Professor of Architecture Pamela Harwood, architect of record for this duplex. “The students working on Alley House are committed, engaged, thoughtful, and talented. Their professionalism, and balanced building-centered and human-centered design knowledge is inspirational.” 

Ball State CAP students, with faculty leads, design advisors, and interdisciplinary consultants, designed Alley House for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® 2023 Build Challenge. The competition challenges student teams to design net-zero energy homes that generate at least as much energy onsite as it consumes on an annual basis using “green” building techniques and renewable energy technologies.

The Alley House work was also part of Ball State’s Immersive Learning projects—high-impact learning experiences that involve collaborative student-driven teams, guided by faculty mentors. Students earn credit for working with community partners such as businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies to address community challenges through the creation of a product that has a lasting impact. Over the last 21 years, Ball State students and faculty have engaged in more than 3,300 Immersive Learning projects focused on solving community challenges.

CAP’s community partners on Alley House are Englewood Community Development Corporation, Gratus Development, and Cedar Street Builders. Alley House will be part of the 40-unit, Englewood Homes affordable infill housing development on the city’s the Near Eastside. The Alley House will be the only net-zero energy duplex in this development.

Read this Ball State blog post to learn more about Alley House, the Solar Decathlon Immersive Learning project, and the CAP students’ commitment to keeping people at the forefront when planning and designing structures. CAP also maintains a Solar Decathlon site with additional information about Alley House.