During its 21 years in business, Architecture Collaborative of Ellicott City has had its share of rush jobs.

But never did it see its work unfold as quickly as it did for ABC-TV's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," which tapped the firm to design the house featured on the episode that will air Sunday.

The firm, the show's designers and about 50 contractors demolished a home in Capitol Heights just outside the District, built one in its place, furnished the inside and landscaped the outside in just seven days.

That kind of job usually takes closer to seven months, said David Robbins, the principal for Architecture Collaborative.

"What we can all learn from this, especially with all the hurricanes and other natural disasters, is that there's a quicker way to build shelter for people who need it," Robbins said. "It can happen faster when the situation demands a faster turnaround."

Robbins said the show forbids him from revealing details about the featured family until the program airs.

But in general, the reality TV series builds a home for a family in need and chronicles the process in an hour-long program.

Host Ty Pennington and his crew typically rip down a dilapidated house and build a much larger one customized for the family's needs -- all while the family is vacationing on the show's dime.

In late June, the show's crew met with Robbins's team, which came up with a concept, a design plan five days later and working drawings a week after that.

Architecture Collaborative began with a 5,000-square-foot lot, rather narrow and deep, in a neighborhood that probably dates to the 1920s, Robbins said.

The challenge was creating a big enough house in a limited space for a rather large family that would provide enough private space for each individual.

Robbins said the show picks an architect based on several factors, including familiarity with a given neighborhood. His firm designs many kinds of residences, including luxury houses and starter homes throughout the mid-Atlantic region, including about 5,000 annually in the Baltimore-Washington area, Robbins said.

Job Fair at HCC

Looking for a job?

Howard County Community College will host its annual Job/Career Fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 4 at the campus's Burrill Galleria. Admission is free.

For more information, go to www.howardcc.edu/career/jobfair.htm or call 410-772-4840.

The college will also host daytime and evening information sessions for anyone interested in the James W. Rouse Scholars Program.

To Submit an Item

E-mail: elboghdadyd@washpost.com

Fax: 410-772-2330

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