Posts tagged with "Housing":

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Bjarke Ingels designs a pixelated mountain of residences in Toronto

Just when it seemed that the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) had enough projects on its plate, it looks like the firm's gone back to the building buffet for a residential complex in Toronto. Backed by developers Westbank and Allied REIT, the as-yet-unnamed project calls for more than 500 apartments spread over 725,000 square feet. The building consists of 12-foot-by-12-foot "pixilated patterns"—read "cubes"—that are stacked and rotated at 45-degree angles. From straight above, the complex resembles a plain rectangle with a public courtyard in the middle. In reality, the apartments stack and mass to form five peaks ranging in height from 15 to 17 stories, marking a return to Ingels's favored mountain typology. The block-wide building will lift up from the sidewalk at three points to allow pedestrians to travel between blocks. Toronto–based landscape architects PUBLIC WORK are collaborating with BIG on the project. There will be around 13 different floor plans, with a private terrace for each apartment. Ingels, the firm's founder and principal, explained the design to The Globe and Mail, likening the scale of the project to "a bundle of homes rather than a big new building.” The effect, Ingels explained, is similar to “a Mediterranean mountain town.” Canadians don't need to look far for another design precedent. It's difficult not to draw a comparison between BIG's proposal and Habitat 67, Moshe Safdie's iconic Montreal apartment complex.
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This 3D topographic installation raises questions on the high cost of housing in New York City

Besides the overcrowded L and the overabundance of Starbucks/Chase Banks, one of New York's favorite things to kvetch about is the rent: it's too damn high. Now, through Wage Island, an installation created by a New York–based interaction and information designer, it's possible to see in 3D how much housing really costs in this city. https://vimeo.com/138549946 Ekene Ijeoma's Wage Islands sprang from the designer's conversations with Fast Food Forward, a labor advocacy organization that's pushing for a higher minimum wage for fast food workers. Compelled by the group's commentary on how difficult it is for minimum wage workers to pay for housing, Ijeoma put his designer's training to work, correlating median monthly housing costs of each neighborhood with the amount one would have to earn to afford to live there. "This created a poetic way of creating empathy between minimum wage workers and citizens they serve; making the issue about everyone," Ijeoma mused. He collaborated with a team of six to execute the GIS modeling of New York City, design and build the model, and program the Arduino board that controls the islands' topography. Wage Islands was commissioned for Measure, the Storefront for Art and Architecture’s exhibition that ran from August 14 through September 19, 2015. The map's elevations are comprised of over 500 pieces of laser-cut acrylic. Elevations are derived from median monthly housing costs in different neighborhoods, with $271 on the low end and $4,001 at the top. The islands are situated in a tray filled with blue-black water. The user can adjust the amount of water in the box by scaling wages up from the city minimum of $8.75 per hour to a high of $77 per hour. The tallest peaks represent the most affordable neighborhoods; those who make at least $77 per hour have the luxury to choose Manhattan's tony Tribeca or Brooklyn's Brownsville, one of the city's poorest neighborhoods. Precision, and reflection on the real world factors that go into determining affordability, is scuttled in favor of highly evocative representation. New York is a renter's city: Less than a third of residents own their own homes. When asked what data was used to gauge median rents, Ijeoma explained that "this was more about looking at New York City together and not separating the different neighborhoods and people from the larger issue." He used the American Community Survey's (ACS) median monthly housing costs as a stand-in for median rents, although ACS data covers both housing costs incurred by homeowners and renters. 69 percent of New Yorkers rent, not own, so the choice to rely on this ACS dataset is unclear. The American Housing Survey, however, has fine-grained data on renters for major metro areas.)

Like Fannie and Freddie, Ijeoma pegs affordability to spending no more than 30 percent of one's income on housing. That's sensible advice, but more than half of New Yorkers are, by this measure, rent burdened, spending over 30 percent of their income on rent.

Affordability guidelines are generally broken down by the number of bedrooms per unit as a proxy for household size. Instead of looking at average rents across neighborhoods, or rents for units of one particular size, Ijeoma dismissed those nuances as irrelevant for this project, as "[the data] would've more or less looked the same because of the geo-spatial interpolation and translation into 3D."

Currently, Ijeoma is doing a stint at Orbital as a designer-in-residence, where he's working on a mapping project that covers a broader swath of America, as well as a project that addresses social media–engaged phone-zombies who blunder through the streets of New York.
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Alejandro Aravena of ELEMENTAL Wins 2016 Pritzker Prize

Alejandro Aravena of ELEMENTAL is having a banner year. The Chilean architect—and director of the upcoming 2016 Venice Biennale—has been named the winner of the 2016 Pritzker Architecture Prize. He is best known for his socially-minded approach to architecture—namely housing and disaster relief. Aravena has a number of completed projects that range from “chairs” for sitting on the ground (commissioned by Vitra) to a master plan for Santiago, Chile in the aftermath of a 2010 magnitude 8.8 earthquake and subsequent tsunami. ELEMENTAL’s work with social housing includes a series of “half-finished homes,” a new model for housing designed for the poorest members of society. By leaving the units spaced, the architects allow future users to add-on and personalize their housing, which makes social housing an investment rather than simply a front-end cost. It was first tested at Quinta Monroy (completed 2003) in Iquique, Tarapacá, Chile, and was then replicated at Villa Verde (2010) in Constitución, Maule Region, Chile and their Monterrey Housing (2010) in Monterrey, Mexico. In June 2011, in an interview with AN West Coast Editor Mimi Zeiger, Aravena said: "Social housing is a question with intellectual merit. It is a tough question—a challenge, a professional challenge. We had to acccept the constraints in the market. Follow all the constraints, then your solution may be replicated. Prove the point that you can do better, then the market can imitate you. It is not about building one unit, but about building 100, because the market operates at that scale. We went for the real thing. Once you decompose the constraints—that is the good thing about being an outsider—you ask the stupid questions. When you are in a given field you are overwhelmed by the problem.” Aravena’s 2016 Biennale opens in May and will be themed "Reporting From the Front.” It aims to explore how architecture is battling in the real world to confronting the social and political issues that we are faced with today. It should pick up—to some extent— where the Chicago Biennial left off last fall. According to the Pritzker committee: Alejandro Aravena has delivered works of architectural excellence in the fields of private, public and educational commissions both in his home country and abroad.... He has undertaken projects of different scales from single-family houses to large institutional buildings.... He understands materials and construction, but also the importance of poetry and the power of architecture to communicate on many levels."
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SPARK’s “Home Farm” Typology Addresses Food Security and a Rapidly Aging Population in Singapore

SPARK’s recent conceptual project in Singapore is a bold interpretation of the city-state’s vision to be a “city in a garden.” Aptly called “Home Farm,” the project addresses Singapore’s rapidly aging population, proposing a combination of high-density senior housing and vertical urban farming. With over 90 percent of its food imported, Singapore faces serious challenges, especially given the substantial demographic shift currently underway. SPARK attempts to tackle these issues with the Home Farm typology, which aims to achieve not only food security, but also healthy and environmentally sustainable living conditions for seniors. The Home Farm design features stacked housing units within a curvilinear structure that wraps around a verdant central plaza featuring a produce market, library, and health center. The structure adapts a simple aquaponic system, and mimics a terraced farm landscape in both form and function, with leafy green vegetables growing on building facades and rooftops. The vegetable gardens provide not only a source of food production, but also a way for seniors to become economically self-sufficient. Currently, surveys have revealed that seniors in Singapore are experiencing financial inadequacy. Additionally, chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and arthritis are common. At Home Farm, jobs for seniors could include planting, harvesting, sorting, and packing; remuneration of resident workers could include payment of salary, offsetting rental or utilities bills, offsetting healthcare costs at the on-site clinic, or free produce. Gardening activity would also offer numerous benefits beyond personal income generation, including community connectivity and the promotion of health. The sustainable, mixed-use development is in line with SPARK's vision of “stitching the spaces of the city into our buildings, and of unfolding our buildings into the city.” “We designed this concept for Singapore, but there is the potential for it to be applied in any location that would support the growth of leafy green vegetables on building facades and rooftops,” said SPARK Director Stephen Pimbley. “We are keen to see this project materialize at some point in the future. The concept is a realizable solution to real and pressing problems faced by many of the world’s growing cities.”
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A compact cabin by Branch Studio Architects makes a minimal impact on its environment

In rural Victoria, Australia, a local firm Branch Studio Architects designed Pump House, a shed-like home that stores a water pump, farming equipment, and, sometimes, the clients, when they visit their horse, George. Pump House is built of plywood, corrugated sheeting, rough-sawn timber, and other low-cost materials. The unfinished plywood and timber clad the interior, which consists of an open living room and kitchen, separated from a bedroom and studio by a bathroom. Since the kitchen wraps the bathroom walls, there is one, central services core. The house is also minimal in environmental impact. It is oriented North-South to absorb the winter sun, and all energy and fuel are provided from off-grid sources. For instance, solar panels provide power, rainwater tanks supply water, and a wood-burner gives-off heat. The exterior is wrapped in black, corrugated, iron panels. Since the front and rear walls are glazed floor-to-ceiling, the clients have tree-house-like views of the lake, greenery, and George. In the summer, these windows and doors are opened for cross-ventilation, a natural way to cool the house. This craftsmanship, layout, and landscape allow Pump House, a small, cozy home, to have a sense of spaciousness.
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Muji Hut: Designers team up with minimalist retailer for three small but mighty prefab homes

Japanese retailer MUJI teamed up with well-known designers Naoto Fukasawa, Jasper Morrison, and Konstantin Grcic to create Muji Hut, a collection of three prefab homes. The minimalistic-inspired homes made their debut during Tokyo Design Week, which took place October 24 to November 3. Muji Hut consists of three cozy, lightweight, and innovative huts: Jasper Morrison’s Hut of Cork, Konstantin Grcic’s Hut of Aluminum, and Naoto Fukasawa’s Hut of Wood. All three huts include a combination of both traditional Japanese elements and modern design aspects. Hut of Cork has designated areas for cooking, eating, resting, and bathing. The hut embraces the great outdoors by including just a shower for bathing, hinting that residents make use of the communal bathhouse or hot spring located nearby. The hut’s exterior is clad of sound-absorbing cork panels, and the interior consists of an array of tatami mats. Hut of Aluminum is comprised of an all-wood interior, which is accessible by sliding shoji-style doors. The hut features retractable aluminum awnings as well as a loft that houses a small sleeping area. Hut of Wood resembles a traditional log cabin and includes timber wood, a pitched roof, a dining table and chairs, a kitchenette, scenic views, natural light, and floor-to-ceiling glazed sliding doors. The hut is also outfitted with a traditional Japanese bath, cot, and wood-burning stove. MUJI has yet to announce if the collection will be brought to market.  
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The RE:BUILD Project offers shelter and education to displaced Syrian refugees

The civil war in Syria has created millions of refugees forced to flee hostilities for safer ground. Those numbers include, according to the United Nations' refugee agency and Save the Children, more than 1.3 million children under the age of 18. To help house those staggering populations, nonprofit Pilosio Building Peace has teamed up with architects Pouya Khazaeli and Cameron Sinclair to build economical architecture designed to house refugees who have been uprooted by war. Cameron Sinclair, former founder of Architecture for Humanity and current founder of for-purpose design firm Small Works, collaborated with Iranian architect Pouya Khazaeli to ensure meaningful social and cultural impact for the project. Their 52-foot-square re-deployable buildings are located in Amman, Jordan at refugee camps Rania Park and Zaatar. The structures can serve as houses, schools, or clinics. A team of ten workers and $33,000 was able to construct the so-called RE:BUILD project. The buildings use earth as a primary construction material. The complex consists of all locally-sourced materials ranging from framework made from scaffolding tubes, walls assembled using earth and sand (also functioning as a natural insulator), to a roof fashioned from steel panels. RE:BUILD is both structurally sound and environmentally friendly as water and electricity are not required. The project also offers refugees the chance to get involved in a hands-on experience by allowing them to assist with assembling the structures. This opportunity, organizers say, provides the refugees with a glimpse into the experience of transforming what appears to be a helpless situation into positive progress.
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Wednesday> AIANY’s Global Dialogues tackles New York City’s affordable housing problem

shelter-on-housing Housing shortages are not just an issue in New York City or even America’s hyper-developed urban centers. It's an issue in every large city in the world. Of course, for the wealthy there are plenty of options. The shortages affect the poor—and in many cities, the middle class. These critical issues and the architect's responsibility to help alleviate this crisis is the focus of "Shelter: On Housing," a panel discussion hosted by the Global Dialogues Committee of the AIANY on Wednesday, October 7th from 6:00 to 8:00pm. At the event, I will be a panelist along with Aliye Celik (president of the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization), Mimi Hoang of nARCHITECTS, and Jill Learner from Kohn Pedersen Fox. I plan to present housing from Vienna and the Austrian process of selecting projects based on their architectural qualities. This free event will take place at the beautiful Vitra showroom, 29 Ninth Avenue in New York.
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House Housing: An untimely history of architecture and real estate in 23 episodes

After a marathon session of presentations of all architects/artists in the biennial Thursday afternoon was marked by a preview of the complex, yet succinct exhibit House Housing capturing the history of inequality of designed inhabitation. Staged as an open house in one of last remaining buildings of one of the first federally-funded housing complex in Chicago, the exhibition is a walk-through into the part of the future home of the National Public Housing Museum (NPHM). Standing in front of the open house the curators with NPHM directors and residents gave a glimpse of the process that led to this collaboration to the audience in front of the open house. Inside the entrance a dilapidated apartment served as the concrete prop for the exhibit introduced as "An untimely history of architecture and real state in twenty three episodes". Empty, low lit rooms with walls carrying scores of uncannily pealed paint become a home for the installation made of home looking furniture, shelves, desks and platforms. Using multiple mediums and told in 23 episodes throughout the open house, House Housing further uses domestic media such as the phonograph, answering machine, television and iPad to tell the story of inequality of housing that are lived everywhere today. As Martin writes in the pamphlet coming with the exhibit, the domestic media in the installation transforms the crumbling rooms of former apartments into "a whispering, humming history machine." Being inside the open house gives a special sense to the material presented as a culture that is not only economically constrained, but also lived as form of constraint. With this exhibit the NPHM inaugurates its future home and hopes to further initiate debates on economies for housing not shy of ideological investigations of the cause, crisis and removal of modern housing and its replacement with typologies of new urbanism. A couple of visitors could be heard commenting how the spaces of the open house feel like being in a socialist home, a comment not too far off if one unjustly equates poverty with a specific ideology. Ultimately House Housing points to the "art of inequality" carried via the twenty three episodes that are specific, yet global, that its design is still happening as we experience the open house visit. A bleak preview of the future to come that is also uncertain. The exhibition is installed by the Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture and assembled by a team of researchers at Columbia University directed by Reinhold Martin and curated together with Jacob Moore and Susanne Schindler. The group's website has more information about this long term project.
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Seeking Refuge: Thinking differently about architectural solutions to the European refugee crisis

In a recently published article by NextCity, German students at Leibnitz University in Hannover have taken a different approach to the standard shantytown-tent communities often considered for refugee accommodation. Instead, they are proposing long-term solutions. Providing tents, containers and gyms as places to house refugees may become impractical as the refugee crisis in Europe continues. Camps, usually comprising of tens of thousands of tents—the most common provision—take up a vast amount of ground space, which can compound the problem. As an alternative, the students have created a handful of designs which feature schemes being built upon abandoned sites, narrow boats, and in car parks. The project, appropriately named "Fill the Gap," is aimed at offering pragmatic solutions to refugee housing needs in Germany. Each program should be mainly timber-based, able to be constructed within one week, and capable of housing up to 40 refugees. Speaking to Deutsche Welle, architect Jörg Friedrich said "Timber creates a more comfortable living environment than previously-used metal boxes." Friedrich, who is a professor at the Institute of Design at Leibniz University and creator of "Fill the Gap," has called for a need to provide "welcoming and comfortable architecture for refugees in Germany." "Fill the Gap" as a project, was initially only meant to hypothetically provide housing solutions for 2,500 refugees in Hannover as Friedrich consulted with psychologists, anthropologists and conflict experts. However, the project has since drastically expanded as students found more and more innovative locations for short-term dwellings. While all but one of the solutions are (currently) imaginary, the project offers valuable insight to approaching refugee housing from a different angle.  
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Are floating houses the answer to London’s housing crisis? 100 ideas for affordable housing to be showcased

Affordable housing is a hot-topic in Europe and across the world right now. To look for solutions, New London Architecture (NLA) launched a competition prompting architects, planners and citizens to submit ideas for the current housing crisis in London—and the entries are in. The competition attracted over 200 submissions from over 16 countries and NLA has released a list of 100 of the submitted schemes which include radical concepts from NBBJ, Rogers Stirk Harbour+Partners, and Grimshaw Architects, among others. Seattle-based NBBJ has proposed taking up 9,000 miles of London road to make way for residential housing whereas London practice dRMM advocate the implementation of floating houses. Infact dRMM weren't the only firm to take advantage of London's waterways. Baca Architects and the appropriately named, Floating Homes Ltd. suggested installing 7,500 prefab floating homes along the canal routes of London, something they say could be done in under a year. Floating architecture, it appears, is a powerful force in captivating the imaginations of architects. The competition hasn't just attracted architects however, property consultants GL Hearn propose constructing a megacity by the M25 highway that travels London to improve housing, retail, workspaces, and infrastructure links by 2050.
Building firm WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff says 630,000 new homes would be created by building housing on top of government institutions such as hospitals, schools, and libraries.
The list of 100 will be whittled down by the NLA to a select group of 10 which will be considered in further depth before an eventual winner is chosen. The 100 projects will go on display in London on Saturday 17th October.
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The New & Old in New Orleans: Ten years after Katrina, architects still figuring out how to rebuild housing in the city

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina tore through the Gulf Coast region, inundating New Orleans with contaminated floodwaters, the city is in some ways still getting back on its feet. After much dispute on how to recover the city, architects and developers are looking to new construction and existing building stock for solutions. Many homes in the Crescent City were washed away or irreparably damaged. One of the most predominant home styles damaged in the storm was the so-called shotgun house, named as such due to its elongated style organized around a long corridor stretching the length of the house. That typology is has been deployed by numerous groups in the past decade to rebuild New Orleans. Developers and architects have been snagging headlines rebuilding what was lost. Most notably, Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation, has built over 100 homes in the city, many by top name architects and more still with modern designs that reinterpret the city's historic shotgun house. Make It Right has lately been building "tiny houses," a style of housing meant for people on a small budget subscribing to a fast-paced, out-of-home lifestyle that's fitting for the urban environment. This fast growing contemporary style has its benefits:
  • Storage space is limited, so there is a lower propensity to over consume and due to the size of the plot.
  • The building is relatively simple and easy to maintain (a chore no city dweller wants to labor over).
The tiny house style is very much a result of the financial crisis from which cheap housing was in demand. The above tiny house, conceived by Jordan Pollard, Make It Right’s research, design, and development manager, will sell for under $100,000. Make It Right's shift from full-scale houses to these small-scale counterparts could be a response to tighter funding streams and budget constraints, The New Republic claims. According to New Republic, in 2013 the foundation also opened up its homes to buyers who didn't previously live in the neighborhood before Katrina, indicating troubles under the surface. As Make It Right's houses struggled to attract buyers, the under-populated area also failed to attract businesses, stores, and services. That meant the predominantly elderly population living in the ultra-modern houses designed by architects such as Shigeru Ban and David Adjaye were miles away from supermarkets and other necessities. Some locals have also protested the structures' contrasting designs. When speaking to Wired, New Orleans architect Mac Ball of Waggonner & Ball said: “all these new buildings don’t look like they fit New Orleans very well.” New Republic went further, describing the new builds as a "a field of pastel-colored UFOs." Affordable housing developer Brandon Dughman is taking a different approach from building new, instead targeting existing building stock. Recently Curbed covered how Dughman renovated an old shotgun house to tactfully create a new interior. Despite the old structure's failures, Dughman celebrated quirks such as the slanted floor and visibly old doorways. Here, he has shown how the structures of New Orleans' past can still be a versatile, viable and attractive place to live.