XO House Honored with 2023 TxA Design Award

Hines professor’s labor of love and commitment to research on display

by Symone Daniels • May 26, 2023

The Texas Society of Architects (TxA) recently recognized LOJO Architecture, a firm founded and operated by University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design professors Jason Logan (B.Arch. '00) and Matthew Johnson, as a winner of its 2023 Design Award for the firm's XO House. The annual design awards recognize outstanding architectural and urban design projects by architects practicing in Texas to promote public interest in design excellence.

Initially designed for Logan and his wife, plans for the XO House quickly changed when Logan's father-in-law needed to move to Houston. The couple decided to create a house where Logan's father-in-law could live on the property but separate from their family.

"We bought this property because there were two houses on it," explained Logan. "We could renovate one for him and then add on to the other one for ourselves."

above: The courtyard and a living space in the home (Photos by leonid furmansky)

Once Logan began the renovation process, he learned they would need to rebuild the house to maintain it. The property is in a 500-year flood zone, and the City of Houston requires it to retain a certain amount of rainwater on site.

Logan and Johnson have always been interested in looking at historical typologies and precedents to guide their work. In this case, the two looked at the Roman Dominus for inspiration. They also found inspiration in the home's different amenities that could be used as a place where both sides of the house could gather. The courtyard was perfect for a shared space, eventually becoming an outdoor dining area.

While construction on the house began in October 2019, it would come to a screeching halt six months later due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, the duo decided to adjust the way construction crews worked to continue with the project.

"We had multiple construction crews simultaneously on-site, and our crews were comfortable with their own," shared Logan. "We decided that if one team was on-site at a time, and they were comfortable with those workers, we could move forward."

above: the xo house's plans inspired by a roman domus

above: logan and his wife in the home; another exterior view of the home (Photos by leonid furmansky

This story first appeared in the spring 2023 issue of DIMENSION Magazine.

The name XO House streams from how the ground floorplan resembles an X and the top floor resembles an O. Logan worked with Hines College alumnus Shaya Attaei (M.Arch. '15, B.Arch. '13, B.S. '13) on the project. Attaei owns ARIA Signs & Design and designed the custom gate for the house, containing a pattern going from X's to O's and blending in between the two letters. The company also created custom hardware for the home.

Seeing the finished product and being honored for the XO House was quite satisfying for Logan and Johnson because they are both very committed to their work at the Hines College. Logan believes the XO House was not only a labor of love but also validates his and Johnson's research interest in their discipline.

To learn more about XO House, check out The Architect's Newspaper coverage earlier this year.


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