The House of Asterion: The Single-Family House

Dennis Chiessa, Paul Dennehy, Don Gatzke, Elizabeth Kang.

Frost Gallery

On view July 2-August 7, 2021

Exhibition Statement The House of Asterion | The Single-Family House “All parts of the house are repeated many times, any place is another place. There is no one pool, courtyard, drinking trough, manger; the mangers, drinking troughs, courtyards pools are fourteen (infinite) in number. The house is the same size as the world; or rather it is the world.” -From Jorge Luis Borges’ The House of Asterion

This exhibition presents a series of houses. Collectively, they challenge and push back on single-family housing trends that produce increasingly larger houses occupied by fewer and fewer people. It features built and speculative projects that reimagine the possibilities of this typology as it questions the necessity of large houses and our collective preconceptions of the house. It features seven houses presented through drawings, photographs, and models that range in size from 900 to 1,950 square feet.

The work and the exhibition are inspired by Jorge Luis Borges’ The House of Asterion in which the narrator, Asterion, describes his house as being “the same size as the world; or rather it is the world”. The work is collaborative, two of the projects were designed with Paul Dennehy and Don Gatzke while at Dennehy Architects. The final models in the exhibition were produced by Elizabeth Kang. All the work was done with and inspired by clients, their stories, and their sites (both real and imagined).

We hope that the houses in this exhibition as they exist in a specific place, through the drawings, photographs, and models provoke a critical discussion about this most common housing type within the sprawling metropolis of DFW.


Dennis Antonio Chiessa leads Ch_Studio and is Assistant Professor of Architecture at The University of Texas at Arlington. Through creative practice, research and teaching, he examines the impact of design on underrepresented, underserved, and underinvested communities.

Dennis’ design work and research has been exhibited in Latinos in Architecture (LiA) exhibits across Texas, The Amarillo Museum of Art, and the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale. His work received First Place in the Tandy Hills Pavilion Design Competition (with Dennehy Architects), First Place in the Real Stories Design Competition, a Studio Award from AIA-Fort Worth, several Honor Awards in the Enlaces juried exhibition in Dallas and has been published in Texas Architect Magazine. Dennis received the 2018 Young Professional Award and the 2019 President’s Award from the American Institute of Architects - Fort Worth chapter.

Dennis is the recipient of several research grants including: a UTA_CAPPA Water and Human Settlements Grant (PI with Co-PI’s Dr. Taner Ozdil, Dr. Rod Hissong and Nazanin Ghaffari) for ‘North of the Island’ to conduct research the impact of development on the Latino community of Fort Worth; a Research Enhancement Grant for ‘Housing the Working Class’ a research project that analyses the housing and labor relationship within Fort Worth’s Historic North Side; and a Conference and Workshop Grant for the Advancement of Diversity for “Open City: Equity in Planning and Design for Neighborhoods Under Neglect.” (PI with Dr. Joowon Im (PI), and Co-PI’s Dr. Diane Allen Jones and Brad Bell).

Dennis serves as Chair of Latinos in Architecture of AIA-Fort Worth and is a member of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committees at the Texas Society of Architects and in the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs at UTA. Through his advocacy for the Latino community, he has designed and organized exhibitions, lectures