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Housing Crisis: The Latest Architecture and News

The Commons: Dissecting Open-Source Design

In New Mexico, irrigation channels that have been in continuous operation for three centuries replenish and nourish the wetlands of the American Southwest. These channels are known as Acequias – communally managed water systems built on democratic tradition. Members of the community own water rights, who then elect a three-person team to oversee the channels. In Cairo and Barcelona, Tahrir Square and Plaza de Catalunya have acted as important sites for voicing political dissatisfaction. The Tahrir Square protests of 2011, for instance, resulted in the eventual toppling of an almost 30-year-old government.

Quinta Monroy / ELEMENTAL. Image © ELEMENTALQuinta Monroy / ELEMENTAL. Image © ELEMENTALConakry - Open Street Maps. Image via Open Street MapsMwanza - Open Street Maps. Image via Open Street Maps+ 11

Do Trailer Parks and Mobile Homes Have a Future As Affordable Housing?

The future of manufactured homes may reinvent the form of something that already widely exists- trailer parks. All across the United States, these small homes are being reimagined by architects by utilizing more sustainable materials, inventive construction techniques, and value engineering to create affordable homes and reinvent the once negative connotation that surrounded this housing typology.

"The Same Technology that Will Allow Us to Address Housing Challenges on Earth, Will Allow Us to Venture Off to Space": Interview with Jason Ballard of ICON

Founded in late 2017, named one of the "Most Innovative Companies in the World" in 2020, and selected as ArchDaily's Best New Practices of 2021, ICON is a construction company that pushed the boundaries of technology, developing tools to advance humanity including robotics, software, and building materials. Relatively young, the Texas-based start-up has been delivering 3D-printed homes across the US and Mexico, trying to address global housing challenges while also developing construction systems to support future exploration of the Moon, with partners BIG and NASA.

Featured on Times’ Next 100, as one of the 100 emerging leaders who are shaping the future, Jason Ballard, CEO and Co-Founder of ICON spoke to ArchDaily about the inception of the company, worldwide housing challenges, his ever-evolving 3D printing technology, and process, his partnership with BIG, and the future of the construction field on earth and in space.

ICON_Nex-Gen_Vulcan_Construction_System_Extrusion_May2021. Image Courtesy of ICONProject_Olympus_ConceptRender. Image Courtesy of BIG-Bjarke Ingels GroupNewStoryProject_ICON_Mexico. Image © Joshua PerezICON_3D-Printed_Welcome_Center_CommunityFirstVillage_AustinTX_2019. Image © Philip Cheung+ 13

Urban Expansions and Master Plans Tackle the Housing and Climate Crises in New York

New York City is under the threat of several geographical and social crises, most notably the rising sea levels, floods, storm surges, as well as the need for affordable housing. While previous and current New York mayors have announced several action plans to tackle the housing and climate crisis of the city, none of them were able to tackle these issues on a big scale, particularly after the pandemic worsened the situation as many citizens found themselves without a job and unable to pay rent. As a response, world-renowned architects and academics have proposed new urban developments and master plans that provide long term solutions to these crises.

New Construction Is Not Always the Answer

via the Greater Syracuse Land Bank
via the Greater Syracuse Land Bank

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

California, as with most American states, has a housing crisis. Unlike the rest of the country, it is actually working to ameliorate the situation, with private and public initiatives that critics can’t help but label inadequate. The Bay Area made accessory dwelling units legal by changing zoning laws, but that has hardly made a dent. Some cities are now pushing for additional upzoning to give developers more room to bring new buildings to market at lower rents. There are all sorts of studies, university sponsored or underwritten by the industry, that recommend more-or-less radical fixes for a seemingly unfixable problem. Environmentalists are naturally cast as villains because they don’t condone greenfield developments. And Californians are tough on their elected officials, as the current governor learned last year. 

ADUs Are Not Enough for California

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

ADUs or accessory dwelling unit, a word mostly used by architects, is "a smaller, independent residential unit located on the same lot as a stand-alone single-family home" according to the American Planning Association. They can be converted spaces of existing houses, additions, or new stand-alone structures. In this piece, author Walter explores the recent policies in California that seek to reduce the shortage of housing.

The Transformation of Offices into Residential Projects: Tackling Vacancies and Housing Shortage

The Cosmopolitan Building / BOGDAN & VAN BROECK. Image © Bogdan van Broek
The Cosmopolitan Building / BOGDAN & VAN BROECK. Image © Bogdan van Broek

The housing shortage has long been the catalyst for architectural speculation over adaptive resue scenarios or the valorisation of underused places in cities. At the same time, the health crisis and its work from home imperatives have brought into sharp focus the adaptive reuse potential of offices spaces into housing. The probability that some office buildings remain vacant post-pandemic opens up the possibility of bringing back housing to city centres, enabling the implementation of a 15-minute city vision. The following discusses the challenges and opportunities of transforming office spaces into housing, highlighting this limited phenomenon's long-term feasibility and impact.

The Cosmopolitan Building / BOGDAN & VAN BROECK. Image © Jeroen VerrechtTransformation of Office Building To 90 Apartments by MOATTI-RIVIERE. Image © Michel_DenancéSlack Headquarters by Studio O+A. Image © Garrett Rowland and Amy Young. Image Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@jpgbarbosa?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">João Barbosa</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/city-of--london?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a>   + 7

Open Air: New Ways We Can Live Together in Nature

“We need a new spatial contract." This is the call of Hashim Sarkis, curator of the Venice Biennale 2021, as an invitation for architects to imagine new spaces in which we can live together. Between a move towards urban flight and global housing crises, the growth of more low-rise, dense developments may provide an answer in the countryside. Turning away from single family homes in rural areas and suburbs, modern housing projects are exploring new models of shared living in nature.

© Shu He© HG Esch© Christian Wöckinger© Dio Guna Putra+ 13

How Recycling Existing Buildings Could Solve the Urban Housing Crisis in the United States

Newly built houses, with their sizable carbon footprints, don’t just contribute to climate change. For many Americans, they’re also too expensive—a bitter irony in cities rife with vacant buildings and record evictions.

Given the urgency of both issues, projects that retrofit livable housing into existing low-carbon shells (the initial embodied carbon was spent long ago) might be worth a closer look. We searched for them and came across a handful that promise a cure for housing insecurity and excessive greenhouse gas emissions.

City of Los Angeles Launches $100,000 Low-Rise Housing Competition

The City of Los Angeles has launched a $100,000 housing design challenge for low-rise developments. The competition asks architects and landscape architects to imagine "appealing and sustainable" models of low-rise, multi-unit housing. Organized by the Mayor’s Office and Chief Design Officer Christopher Hawthorne, the initiative aims to create new paths to home-ownership and housing affordability in Los Angeles.

Two Billion New Homes to be Created in the Next 80 Years

It is an inevitable truth that the world population is growing exponentially. Higher numbers can only lead to a higher demand for resources, food, and housing. By the year 2100, the 7.6 billion people currently living on earth will reach, according to the UN, a whopping 11.2 billion.

This increase can only mean that the need to accommodate these people will become an urgent priority, innovating and shifting from the household system that is present nowadays. Soon enough this will be a global pressing issue.

As London's Housing Crisis Deepens, a Provocative Proposal Suggests the Solution Rests with the Queen

"The rooms are awash with sparkling candelabra, sumptuous carpets, marble columns, sculptures, and expensive artworks,” says Benedikt Hartl, co-founder of Opposite Office of Buckingham Palace. The 775-room, 79-bathroom, 828,821 square foot residence has been home to Britain’s royalty since the 1830s. And, if Opposite Office’s recent Affordable Palace proposal were to go through, could also be home to you.