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Social Housing

7 Lessons from New York's New Affordable Housing Design Guide

09:30 - 1 June, 2018
7 Lessons from New York's New Affordable Housing Design Guide , Broadway Housing in Santa Monica, by Kevin Daly, was identified by the report as a case study for its circulation. Image © Iwan Baan
Broadway Housing in Santa Monica, by Kevin Daly, was identified by the report as a case study for its circulation. Image © Iwan Baan

When we think of public housing architecture in the United States, we often think of boxes: big, brick buildings without much aesthetic character. But the implications of standardized, florescent-lit high-rises can be far more than aesthetic for the people who live there. Geographer Rashad Shabazz, for one, recalls in his book Spatializing Blackness how the housing project in Chicago where he grew up—replete with chain link fencing, video surveillance, and metal detectors—felt more like a prison than a home. Accounts of isolation, confinement, and poor maintenance are echoed by public housing residents nationwide.

But American public housing doesn’t have to be desolate. A new set of design standards from the New York City Public Design Commission (PDC)—in collaboration with The Fine Arts Federation of New York and the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter—hopes to turn over a new leaf in affordable housing architecture.

Step Up on Fifth in Santa Monica, by Brooks + Scarpa, was identified by the report as a case study for its windows and doors. Image Courtesy of Brooks + Scarpa The Navy Green development in Brooklyn was a key case study in the report. Here, the supportive housing from that development, designed by Architecture in Formation and Curtis + Ginsburg. Image © Tom Powel Imaging The Tetris Apartments in Ljubljana, by OFIS Arhitekti, were identified by the report as a case study for their massing. Image Courtesy of OFIS Arhitekti Creston Avenue Residence in the Bronx. Image Courtesy of MAP Architects + 16

Mecanoo Reveals Images (And a LEGO Model) of Competition-Winning Social Housing Proposal in Taiwan

12:00 - 3 May, 2018
Mecanoo Reveals Images (And a LEGO Model) of Competition-Winning Social Housing Proposal in Taiwan, Design concept. Image Courtesy of Mecanoo
Design concept. Image Courtesy of Mecanoo

Mecanoo has released images of their competition-winning social housing proposal for the city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The 234-unit-scheme embodies Mecanoo’s philosophy towards social housing, “defined by flexibility, the right balance of private and communal spaces, mixing housing types, connection with the environment and identity.” Comprised of two buildings linked by a green canopy, the scheme is designed for a variety of users, including students, young families, the elderly, or people with special needs.

Masterplan. Image Courtesy of Mecanoo Lego model. Image Courtesy of Mecanoo Design concept. Image Courtesy of Mecanoo Lego model. Image Courtesy of Mecanoo + 13

What Makes a City Livable to You?

09:30 - 28 April, 2018
© <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/132839384@N08/17241901246'>Flickr user Hafitz Maulana</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>. ImageA music festival in Singapore
© Flickr user Hafitz Maulana licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. ImageA music festival in Singapore

Mercer released their annual list of the Most Livable Cities in the World last month. The list ranks 231 cities based on factors such as crime rates, sanitation, education and health standards, with Vienna at #1 and Baghdad at #231. There’s always some furor over the results, as there ought to be when a city we love does not make the top 20, or when we see a city rank highly but remember that one time we visited and couldn’t wait to leave.

To be clear, Mercer is a global HR consultancy, and their rankings are meant to serve the multinational corporations that are their clients. The list helps with relocation packages and remuneration for their employees. But a company’s first choice on where to send their workers is not always the same place you’d choose to send yourself to.

And these rankings, calculated as they are, also vary depending on who’s calculating. Monocle publishes their own list, as does The Economist, so the editors at ArchDaily decided to throw our hat in as well. Here we discuss what we think makes cities livable, and what we’d hope to see more of in the future.

Will Open-Source, Technological Solutions Ever Lead to the Dream of Universal Affordable Housing?

09:30 - 25 April, 2018
Visualization. Courtesy of SPACE10
Visualization. Courtesy of SPACE10

The dream of universal affordable housing has been an idea tried and tested by architects throughout history. From the wacky Dymaxion House by Buckminster Fuller, an imagining of how we would live in the future, to mail-order houses able to be assembled like IKEA furniture, many proposals have tackled the challenge of creating affordable housing or dwellings which could be replicated no matter the time and place. However, although their use of techniques such as pre-fabrication and cheap materials seemed, in theory, to be able to solve pressing issues of homelessness and the global housing crisis, time and time again these proposals have simply failed to take off. But why?

IKEA’s research lab SPACE10 is attempting to find an answer to this question through open-source collaboration. By releasing their design of a micro-house that used only one material and one machine to make it and an accompanying website that catalogs the process and invites feedback, they are inviting architects, designers, and aspiring home-owners to work together in creating a solution which could improve the lives of millions. “The vision,” they say, “is that by leveraging the world’s collective creativity and expertise, we can make low-cost, sustainable and modular houses available to anyone and, as a result, democratize the homes of tomorrow.”

Architects Propose 120 Incremental Social Houses for Iquitos, Peru

06:00 - 23 March, 2018

Building and growing are two actions that should be considered more often than not at the same time. This is how the 2017 "Build to Grow" social housing competition, looked to establish bases that sustain a flexible way of living. The event took place in the Belén district in the city of Iquitos, on 3.7 hectares plot of land. The project that received first place proposed to locate 120 incremental homes, that alternatively allowed users to modify and expand it according to their needs and economic means. In short, a home with a solid nucleus formed by a structure that supports changing activities.

Stefano Boeri Architetti's Vertical Forest is the Very First to be Used in Social Housing

11:30 - 10 January, 2018
Stefano Boeri Architetti's Vertical Forest is the Very First to be Used in Social Housing, © The Big Picture
© The Big Picture

The new social housing project by Stefano Boeri Architetti is the first to integrate a vertical forest into an affordable residential skyscraper, improving the living conditions often incurred within such developments. 5,200 shrubs and 125 trees will be planted up the 75m tall structure in Eindhoven.

Trudo Vertical Forest will contain 125 social housing units over 19 floors to house lower income social groups, particularly young people. Each apartment will include a balcony filled with an array of trees, plants and shrubs for a forest soaring into the city's sky.

Peep Through the Wondrous Windows of the Tours Aillaud in This Colorful Photo Series

08:00 - 3 December, 2017
Peep Through the Wondrous Windows of the Tours Aillaud in This Colorful Photo Series, © Laurent Kronental
© Laurent Kronental

French photographer Laurent Kronental’s latest photo series, “Les Yeux des Tours” views of Paris, are framed by the quirky windows of the Tours Aillaud, and by the subtle differences in which the spaces around them are inhabited. Kronental considers the towers as some of the most spectacular of the Grands Ensembles built in the post-war economic boom in France. For him, photographing these buildings was a form of nostalgia, a way of satisfying a deep sense of childhood wonder and curiosity that fostered in him as a young boy perceiving them from the nearby business and shopping center "La Défense," questioning the lives of the people who live there.

SAVE. Image © Laurent Kronental SAVE. Image © Laurent Kronental © Laurent Kronental © Laurent Kronental + 19

The Best University Proposals for Social Housing in Latin America and Spain in 2017

08:00 - 2 December, 2017
The Best University Proposals for Social Housing in Latin America and Spain in 2017

At the end of September, we invited our Spanish-speaking readers to send us their social housing proposals completed at a university level. Social housing is still a challenge for much of Latin America and although every year hundreds of architecture students work on projects that reflect their concerns in the social housing field, its visibility is very low and its materialization is null. At a time when the Global South has pursued its own responses to its own problems, the university response on social housing should be taken into account by the State, both of whom are interested in the common good. 

Out of 116 proposals received from Spain and 11 Latin American countries, this selection of 20 ideas represents the different challenges and state of the problems in social housing. While some approach Colombia's post-conflict scenario for rural inhabitants, some propose answers to the insertion of social housing in already densified areas, to which the beneficiaries tend to be relegated by the value of land and housing. Other ideas point to the reconversion of infrastructure, modulation, the integration of indigenous peoples and natural disasters.

We believe that the selection not only highlights the efforts of students and academics to address contingent problems but will also open up the discussion about social housing, often relegated only as a one-dimensional problem when in reality, poverty is multidimensional.

OOPEAA Wins Multi-functional Church and Social Housing Proposal in Helsinki

06:00 - 2 November, 2017
Courtesy of OOPEAA
Courtesy of OOPEAA

OOPEAA and Lujatalo worked together to design the winning proposal for a new multi-functional church and social housing project for Tikkurila, Helsinki entitled Church in the City. The project is unique in the way that the architect, builder, and client participated in a highly collaborative design process.

Courtesy of OOPEAA Courtesy of OOPEAA Courtesy of OOPEAA Courtesy of OOPEAA + 7

Which Are The Most Used Materials in Social Housing?

06:00 - 16 October, 2017
Which Are The Most Used Materials in Social Housing?, © Ana Cecilia Garza Villarreal
© Ana Cecilia Garza Villarreal

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.

Jalisco, Mexico: Prototype for INFONAVIT, by ZD+A and Iñaki Echeverría

16:00 - 14 October, 2017
Jalisco, Mexico: Prototype for INFONAVIT, by ZD+A and Iñaki Echeverría, Cortesía de ZD+A
Cortesía de ZD+A

The exercise, “from territory to inhabitant”, organized by the Centre of Investigation for Sustainable Development (CIDS) of Infonavit, seeks to respond to the diverse cultural, social, environmental, spatial and functional needs of different localities and bioclimates in finding assisted self-build housing solutions. The main objective of this investigation is to establish the legal, conceptual and architectonic processes that can be used to create these types of houses. 

In their next project, CIDS invited the Mexican studio ZD+A to collaborate with Iñaki Echeverría to make a proposal for a social housing prototype for assisted self-build with the municipality of Tala in Jalisco, Mexico.

Anupama Kundoo: 'Current Methods of Construction are Producing More Problems Than They Solve'

12:00 - 7 October, 2017
Anupama Kundoo: 'Current Methods of Construction are Producing More Problems Than They Solve', Wall House. Image © Javier Callejas
Wall House. Image © Javier Callejas

India’s renowned architect Anupama Kundoo has experimented with locally sourced materials to develop Wall House and others for non-profit organizations to minimise impact in the construction process whilst maintaining the connection to the community. She tells us how she integrates hybrid technologies into the building, a response to the growing segregation in India and developing countries.

RIBA Criticizes UK Government's Housing Promise: "It Just Won’t Meet the Scale of Investment Needed"

11:20 - 4 October, 2017
RIBA Criticizes UK Government's Housing Promise: "It Just Won’t Meet the Scale of Investment Needed", Last week, the RIBA awarded Neave Brown the 2018 RIBA Gold Medal. Brown is known for his work on progressive social housing projects, including the Alexandra Road Estate, shown here. Image © RIBA Collections
Last week, the RIBA awarded Neave Brown the 2018 RIBA Gold Medal. Brown is known for his work on progressive social housing projects, including the Alexandra Road Estate, shown here. Image © RIBA Collections

Earlier today, the UK Prime Minister Theresa May made her closing speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. In a speech which focused on the fallout of Brexit and the economy, May devoted considerable attention to the issue of the UK housing market, announcing a plan to add £2 billion to the government's existing £7 billion affordable housing fund—a fund which local governments, private housebuilders, and housing associations can apply to for grants to subsidize construction of affordable housing.

However, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has strongly criticized the government's proposal, arguing that £2 billion will not be nearly enough to address the scale of the problem—by most estimates, the country is falling short of housing demand by hundreds of thousands of units annually, and house prices are increasingly out of reach for the young and the poor. In response, the RIBA argues for a much greater investment in social housing, highlighting its recent decision to award its Gold Medal to 20th Century social housing architect Neave Brown and stating that "we need a concerted program of public investment in new social housing across the country and that means spending a lot more than was announced today." Read on for RIBA President Ben Derbyshire's full statement:

Longnan Garden Social Housing Estate / Atelier GOM

20:00 - 30 June, 2017
Longnan Garden Social Housing Estate / Atelier GOM , © CreatAR Images
© CreatAR Images

© CreatAR Images © CreatAR Images © CreatAR Images © CreatAR Images + 48

  • Architects

  • Location

    Lane 336, Longshui South Road, Xuhui District, China
  • Architect in Charge

    Zhang Jiajing
  • Design Team

    Xu Wenbin, Huang Wei, Xu Cong, Yi Bowen, Zhang Qicheng
  • Area

    48112.0 m2
  • Project Year

    2017
  • Photographs

The Construction Details of ELEMENTAL's Incremental Housing

08:00 - 18 June, 2017
The Construction Details of ELEMENTAL's Incremental Housing, Quinta Monroy, Section © ELEMENTAL
Quinta Monroy, Section © ELEMENTAL

Good location, harmonious growth over time, concern for urban design, and the delivery of a structure that has "middle-class DNA" are the key points of the ABC of incremental housing, developed in detail by the Chilean architects ELEMENTAL. It's a question of ensuring a balance between "low-rise high-density, without overcrowding, with the possibility of expansion (from social housing to middle-class dwelling)."

Following this line of action, the office has released the drawings of four of the projects carried out under these principles, to serve as good examples of design which have already been implemented and proven in reality. However, despite making them available for free consultation and download, the architects emphasize that these designs must be adjusted to comply with the regulations and structural codes of each locality, using relevant building materials.

Why Moscow's Massacre of Mass Housing Is a Huge Mistake

09:30 - 12 April, 2017
Why Moscow's Massacre of Mass Housing Is a Huge Mistake, © Max Avdeev
© Max Avdeev

The Moscow government has just launched the biggest demolition program in the city’s history. Its goal is to get rid of 8,000 5-story residential buildings constructed in the Soviet era—it is probably the biggest program of erasure of modernist architectural heritage in world history. The main assumptions of the plan, as well as the press comments following it, show that we have forgotten what modernism was about, and what the real values of this architecture are.

A few years ago I published an essay titled Belyayevo Forever, dedicated to the preservation of generic modernist architecture. I focused on Moscow’s microrayons—vast, state-funded housing estates built in the Soviet era. In the essay, I explained the spatial and cultural values these prefabricated landscapes had. I also speculated about how one would go about preserving architecture that completely lacks uniqueness. The essay ended with a provocative statement: we should put Belyayevo—the most generic of all Soviet estates—on the UNESCO heritage list.

© Max Avdeev © Max Avdeev © Max Avdeev © Max Avdeev + 13

WE Architecture’s Winning Proposal Combines Green Space with Social Housing in Aarhus

08:00 - 25 February, 2017
WE Architecture’s Winning Proposal Combines Green Space with Social Housing in Aarhus, © WE Architecture
© WE Architecture

A competition for a new social housing complex in Aarhus, Denmark, has been won by WE Architecture, in collaboration with local practice JWH Arkitekter and commissioned by Ringgaarden, a Danish housing organization.

Titled “Saltholmsgade”, the winning proposal is a reinterpretation of Aarhus’ historical housing typologies along Hjortensgade, creating modern and green communal spaces. The complex consists of 38 individual apartments, offering tenants views of the city through the inclusion of rooftop gardens.

© WE Architecture © WE Architecture © WE Architecture © WE Architecture + 14

LOHA’s Latest Supportive Housing Complex Curbs LA’s Increasing Homelessness

08:00 - 16 February, 2017
LOHA’s Latest Supportive Housing Complex Curbs LA’s Increasing Homelessness, © Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects
© Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects

With ever-increasing rates of chronic and veteran homelessness amongst low-income households, Los Angeles’ pressing demand for affordable social housing is being addressed by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, with their design of MLK1101 Supportive Housing, which has just begun construction.

Working in collaboration with non-profit Clifford Beers Housing, LOHA’s intention is to focus on health and community within a comfortable environment. This is achieved through a number of strategies, including exposing the building towards the street to integrate the building into the neighborhood creating strong community ties.

Southwest View. Image © Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects Axonometric Drawing. Image © Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects © Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects © Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects + 13