The July 2017 issue of a+u invites Lise Juel, Danish architect and collaborator of Jørn Utzon, to discover "melancholic" quality of contemporary houses located in the Nordic countries.
As anyone who has recently attempted apartment-hunting in a major urban area will know, reasonably-priced housing can be difficult to come by for many and salaries don’t always seem to match the cost of living. This gap is contributing to housing crises in developed and developing countries worldwide. People are simply being priced out of cities, where housing has become a commodity instead of a basic human right. Financial speculation and states’ support of financial markets in a way that makes housing unaffordable has created an unsustainable global housing crisis.
Earlier this year the 13th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey was released for 2017, revealing that the number of “severely unaffordable” major housing markets rose from 26 to 29 this year; the problem is getting worse. The study evaluates 406 metropolitan housing markets in nine of the world's major economies and uses the “median multiple” approach to determine affordability. By dividing the median house price by the median household income of an area, this method is meant to be a summary of “middle-income housing affordability.”
The average cost of a home in London has now reached over £500,000 ($640,000), a figure far beyond the reach of the large majority of individuals or families on or below the average UK income (£34,473, or just under $45,000, per year). It’s a story which has been told time and again in recent years; the “housing crisis” of affordability continues to exacerbate the lives of a generation.
For Naked House, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to “stripping affordable housing back to the bare essentials,” crisis necessitates a creative response. With support and funding from the GLA (Greater London Authority) and the incumbent Mayor of London, who has awarded a £500,000 grant to the development, they—in collaboration with OMMX—have now made an important step closer to realizing their vision.
This article was originally published by The Architect's Newspaper as "Are micro-apartments a revolutionary trend? Or are developers exploiting an out-of-control market?"
The situation was dire: People were flocking to cities for work, but scarce land and lack of new construction were driving up rent prices. Middle-income residents couldn’t afford the high-end housing stock, nor did they want to enter cramped—sometimes illegally so—apartments. Luckily, a new housing solution appeared: In exchange for small, single-occupancy units, residents could share amenities—like a restaurant-kitchen, dining area, lounge, and cleaning services—that were possible thanks to economies of scale. Sound familiar?
It should: It’s the basic premise behind Carmel Place, a micro-apartment development in Manhattan’s Kips Bay that recently started leasing. The development—whose 55 units range from 260 to 360 square feet—was the result of Mayor Bloomberg’s 2012 adAPT NYC Competition to find housing solutions for the city’s shortage of one- and two-person apartments. Back then, Carmel Place needed special legal exceptions to be built, but last March the city removed the 400-square-foot minimum on individual units. While density controls mean another all-micro-apartment building is unlikely, only building codes will provide a de facto minimum unit size (somewhere in the upper 200 square foot range). What does this deregulation mean for New York City’s always-turbulent housing market? Will New Yorkers get new, sorely needed housing options or a raw deal?
In this article Marcos Parga, director of the Madrid-based office MAPAA, presents an exploratory essay on the possibilities of living in developed urban centers, taking as a case study a site between two existing party walls in Madrid. The objective of MAPAA's exercise is to seek ways to enjoy the benefits of rural life, such as close contact with nature, in the city.
Singapore’s first Housing and Development Board (HDB) housing blocks were erected in November of 1960, in response to a severe lack of adequate housing for the country's 1.6 million citizens. Fast forward to 2017, and over 80% of the Singaporean population live in HDBs, with over 90% of them owning the home they live in. Often painted in vibrant colors, HDBs have a focus on community social spaces, more often than not maintaining the ground floor of the apartment blocks as open public space, exclusively for public meeting areas. These can include hawker centers, benches, tables, grills and pavilions where residents can socialize under cover from the hot Singaporean sun.
From its hilltop vantage point in the east end of Sheffield, UK, the Park Hill Estate surveys the post-industrial city which sprawls westwards. Its prominent location makes the estate highly visible and it has, over time, become engrained in the popular consciousness – a part of the fabric of the city. Although today it divides opinion, following its completion in 1961 it was hailed as an exemplary model for social housing. Designed by architects Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith under the supervision of Sheffield’s visionary City Architect John Lewis Womersley, the estate now stands as testament to an era when young British architects were revolutionizing the field of residential architecture with radical housing programs.
The Park Hill Estate was part of Womersley’s strategy to introduce more high-density housing to Sheffield, which he believed would foster a stronger sense of community than the ubiquitous back-to-back terraces. This policy went hand in hand with an urgent need for slum clearance; The Park, a slum so notorious for its high crime rate that it was known locally as ‘Little Chicago,’ was demolished to make way for the estate.
LocationDongziguan Village, Fuyang, Hangzhou, China
The challenges associated with the provision of adequate and affordable housing around the world demand that architects respond with original solutions that challenge traditional building forms, typologies and methods of delivery.
In recognition of this demand, last month’s World Architecture Festival in Berlin chose housing as its thematic focus. The festival made headlines with Patrik Schumacher’s inflammatory keynote speech that called for cities to be turned over entirely to market forces, scrapping social housing and privatizing all public space. The controversy that followed belied the diversity of the discourse on housing at the Festival and the presentation of innovative architectural responses to housing challenges.
The Futuro House looks more like an alien spacecraft than a building. Designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen in 1968 as a ski chalet, the radical design was subsequently marketed to the public as a small prefabricated home, easily assembled and installed on virtually any topography. Its plastic construction and futurist aesthetic combined to create a product which is identifiable with both the future and the past.
Originally built to house over 7,000 people in the 1970s, the Aylesbury Estate in South East London was once one of largest housing projects in Europe. In recent years it has "fallen into rapid decline" and, according to British filmmaker Joe Gilbert, "perfectly encapsulates the growing housing crisis and problems caused by gentrification." With narration by Tom Dyckhoff, this short film aims to capture the reality of a housing utopia which has de-evolved into an uncomfortable reality.
[In New York] there’s this math problem: 1.8 million small households and only one million suitable apartments. – Mimi Hoang, principal of nArchitects
Last year, nArchitects released a trailer that teased the development of their winning adAPT NYC entry, Carmel Place (formerly known as My Micro NY). The competition sought to address the need for small household apartments in New York City. Now in a newly released video, the full story of the city’s tallest modular tower comes together in smooth timelapse to a dainty piano soundtrack.
The City of Frederiksberg, along with Real-dania By and Byg Foundation have selected a team led by Danish architects COBE to develop the "House of Food Culture." The project will be constructed on top of the new metro stations in Copenhagen's new Metro City Ring. The House of Food Culture and its townhouses will be built in brick, imitating the neighbouring facade lines and keeping with the style of the historic surroundings.
The House of Food Culture is to be built on top of the entrance to the forthcoming metro station that will host a daily flow of 10,000 people, while focusing on making it the focal point for urban life and a central meeting place.
UNStudio, in collaboration with Korean firm Heerim Architects & Planners, has won the competition to design the 32 tower masterplan of Eunma Housing Development in the neighborhood of Daechi-Dong, Seoul. The unique project commission is being led by the residents of the Eunma Housing Development themselves, who have tasked the architects with redeveloping their current homes into a new, future-orientated eco-design that can be used as a blueprint for other resident-driven development projects.
Foster + Partners has released plans for a connected pair of skyscrapers that will provide 660 new luxury condos in the Miami’s Brickell neighborhood. Taking advantage of updated height limit regulations, "The Towers" will top out at 1,049 feet (320 meters), becoming one of 5 new buildings that will share the title of Miami's tallest tower.
Historically, building heights in Miami have been restricted due to proximity to the Miami International Airport.
As part of a new exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C., twelve dollhouses tracing the history of British domesticity have been lent by London's Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood. The show—Small Stories: At Home in a Dollhouse—spans 300 years and presents a miniature-sized, up-close-and-personal view of developments in architecture and design – from lavish country mansions, to an urban high-rise.
Archimatika Architects has unveiled the plans for “Leopol Town,” a new housing project located on Styiska Street in Lviv, Western Ukraine. Overall, the project will include seven buildings, with 757 flats, shops, cafeterias, restaurants, and public access at the lower levels.
In an effort to combat the uncomfortable Soviet “sleeping neighborhood” feeling of the city, the project will feature open blocks, parceling, energy efficient systems, and sustainability principles to “invite nature in.”
a+u 2016:05 "Beginning with the House – 65 Architects’ Visions from Early Residential Works" (Special Issue)
This special edition of a+u takes an overview of early works, mostly houses, by 65 prominent architects around the world, including: Álvaro Siza, Richard Rogers, Glenn Murcutt, Valerio Olgiati, Lacaton & Vassal, Caruso St John, Smiljan Radic, ELEMENTAL, and Pascal Flammer. We asked each architect two questions – the visions they had when they designed the house, and how that vision has evolved over time.