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Living Inside a Thesis Project

 quad space

Published January 23, 2013

The house at 139 Howell Street was falling to pieces when four UB architecture students discovered it in 2008. Holes gaped from crumbling walls. Downstairs, windows were boarded up. Upstairs, ribbons of cream-colored paper peeled off the ceiling.

“We’re putting energy into a community.”
Dan Stripp, MArch '09
School of Architecture and Planning

Tucked away on a quiet street in Buffalo’s Black Rock neighborhood, the place was a ruin, a relic of what it once was. But the students—Dan Stripp, Ernest Ng, Paul Dudkowski and Michael-John Bailie—saw something special in the decaying structure. They bought the property for $6,500 at a city auction and began fixing it up.

Over the course of a year, they gutted the home and transformed what remained into an architectural gem: a tiny house with enormous character. Skylight and high ceilings make the 650-square-foot structure feel bigger than it is. Four cube-shaped rooms—a parlor and three bedrooms—add a whimsical touch, jutting out partway from the dwelling’s slate-colored exterior.

The renovation, titled “Quad Space,” served as the students’ master’s thesis project. Afterward, Bailie, Dudkowski and Stripp lived together in the house, along with Stripp’s girlfriend, Stephanie Vito, and his dog, a black Labrador mix named Cosmo.

Read more, including a Q&A with Stripp, who is still in residence with his girlfriend and Cosmo. Stripp took time to reflect on “Quad Space” and answer questions about what it’s like to live inside his own thesis project.