San Francisco is a city defined by its relationship to housing. Since the 90s it has faced an affordable housing shortage, and now, has some of the highest rents of any major US city. As planners and policy makers work to move beyond the city's past and find new paths forward, architects and designers are testing out diverse housing models. From dense residential towers to multi-unit developments, modern housing aims to strike a balance between economy and urbanity.
Social Housing: The Latest Architecture and News
In the 1920s, work was completed on the Cité Frugès housing complex in Pessac, France. The project, meant to house Pessac's industrial workers, would be one of seventeen Le Corbusier works on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.
SANAA’s recently completed social housing complex in Paris was captured by the Architecture and Photography studio of Vincent Hecht. Part of Paris habitat, France’s largest public utility social housing company, the project comprises four buildings accommodating more than 100 social housing units in total.
Dense cities mean small homes. With more and more frequency we are forced to adapt to spaces within which some elements simply do not fit. As architects, these restrictions actually provide us with opportunities and remind us that our goal is to give precise solutions to specific problems. Designing with infinite number square meters and/or an unlimited budget is practically unheard of.
What's the key to accommodating everything? Let's review some effective storage solutions for minimum, tight spaces.
Japanese mass housing from the 1960s is a fascinating cross-cultural experiment that merged Western and Soviet modernist typologies with traditional Japanese elements. Once a symbol of a new “modernized” way of life, it has since become a burden for Japanese society. Current living conditions in these housing estates are unsuitable for elderly residents and have given rise to the phenomena of kodokushi—lonely, unnoticed deaths inside of the apartments. Researcher and photographer Tatiana Knoroz explores the tragic fate of this modernist project in her essay for Strelka Mag.
Choice of building materials and the inherent continuous reflection about the reach and capabilities of architecture are an interesting alternative way to approach this issue. The materials used in social housing should address local and economic possibilities and the real needs for access to housing in the contemporary context.
In this article, we analyze different projects published on our site to identify some of the predominant materials used in social housing, both for the formation of structures or enclosures. The intentions of this are two-fold: firstly, to create a worldwide panorama of different case studies with different construction styles from a range of geographical locations, and secondly, to provide inspiration and tools to architects to make better social housing.
Below we present 15 social housing projects and their diverse materials and construction styles.
Having explored the design that establishes 'emotional ownership' and the antipatrons of social housing, Nikos A. Salingaros, David Brain, Andrés M. Duany, Michael W. Mehaffy and Ernesto Philibert-Petit continue their series of articles on social housing in Latin America. This time, the proposal studies how control influences the urban form and the form of housing.
This is all quite recent: less than a year ago, a French family became the first in the world to live in a 3D printed house. Short of 20 years, this seemed like a distant dream, this new technology has developed quickly, and it arises as a possible contribution to the housing crisis around the world.
SO-IL has released details of their Las Americas social housing project in León, one of Mexico’s fastest-growing cities. Seeking to establish a solution to the nation’s housing crisis, SO-IL collaborated with the Instituto Municipal de Vivienda de León (IMUVI) in the development of the prototype development.
Continuing the series of articles developed by Nikos A. Salingaros, David Brain, Andres M. Duany, Michael W. Mehaffy, and Ernesto Philibert-Petit, in this article we'll be exploring how observations on social housing in Latin American have been approached from an outdated and antagonistic point of view. Notions and errors committed in previous studies - in some cases simply by inertia - are discussed in the Latin American context, and propose adaptable solutions focused on the long-term, urban roots of residents.
Social Housing is a principal element for a more democratic city. These housing structures provide decent dwellings for all citizens in urban areas and connect them to the rest of the city and its services.
Unfortunately, in many countries, the term "Social Housing" still has a negative connotation. It is often seen as a project that seeks to build the largest number of units with cheap materials, and little-to-no concern for the quality of life of its residents. Often times, it is designed for monetary reasons, as opposed to a project that serves the city and its people. Although this fact is recurrent, there are several examples that portray the opposite, in which architects manifest their political point of view through exceptional projects with innovative solutions that improve the urban experience.
To highlight these projects, we've gathered 45 examples that portray different modes of social housing. The diverse selection begins with small-scale, single-family residences that integrate public subsidy programs to large public enterprises for multifamily units.
Home. Our shelter. Our private space. In an urbanized world with dense megalopolises like Tokyo, Shanghai, and São Paulo, homes are getting smaller and more expensive than ever. If you are claustrophobic, Marie Kondo is your best ally in the quest to earn some extra space. And even though private backyards have become a luxury for most, our data shows that single-family houses are still the most popular project type on ArchDaily. Why is this? (Especially when it seems incongruous given the reality of today’s crowded cities.) Why do some universities still insist on designing and building houses as academic exercises? Wouldn’t it be more creative—and more useful—to develop architecture in small-scale spaces? Would it be more rewarding to develop solutions on bigger scales?
Developed by Nikos A. Salingaros, David Brain, Andrés M. Duany, Michael W. Mehaffy, and Ernesto Philibert-Petit, this series of articles offers here a set of evidence-based optimal practices for social housing, applicable in general situations. Varying examples are discussed in a Latin American context. Adaptive solutions work towards long-term sustainability and help to attach residents to their built environment.
They propose, then, new insights in complexity science, and in particular the work of Christopher Alexander on how to successfully evolve urban form. By applying the conceptual tools of “Pattern Languages” and “Generative Codes”, these principles support previous solutions derived by others, which were never taken forward in a viable form.
Microsoft has unveiled plans to commit $500 million to advance affordable housing solutions across the city of Seattle, Washington. The money, to be distributed as loans and grants, will kick-start new solutions to the city’s housing crisis, where income increases have lagged behind rising housing prices.
The investment breaks down as $225 million committed to subsidize middle-income housing construction in six targeted cities, $250 million to support low-income housing across the King County region, and $25 million to philanthropic grants to address homelessness in the greater Seattle region. The tech giant has targeted the region in close proximity to the site of its Redmond headquarters expansion, expected to accommodate 8,000 new employees.
C.F. Møller Architects and BRUT have won a competition for the design of an ambitious urban development in Ostend, Belgium. The neighborhood of 500 houses demonstrates a method of using a human scale to improve the quality of life the residents and the urban realm.
The project centers on the De Nieuwe Stad quarter, where an existing social housing scheme from 1972 has become outdated. The competition for the site’s complete redevelopment attracted 54 firms, from which C.F. Møller Architects and BRUT.