The building forms in Mer Rouge Villas appear to have grown together in a natural way. By using ready-made standardized components supplemented with designed details, the architect achieved economy of design.
Since winning his first Farmers Home Administration design competition in 1986, architect Henry Wenzel has gone on to design affordable housing in several southern states. He declares, “My whole value system changed, and I have gravitated toward the people who have been ignored since FDR and the New Deal.” His efforts have not gone unnoticed – in 1992, Mer Rouge Villas received a Presidential Design Award.
Developer Thomas B. Marshall commented that, since the completion of the Villas, affordable housing developments are accepted more readily by communities. “We have very little political opposition,” he said, “since we started building the better designed housing.”