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Social Housing: The Latest Architecture and News

Which Are The Most Used Materials in Social Housing?

04:00 - 12 August, 2019
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.

Socially-Organized Housing: the Geometry of Control

04:00 - 30 July, 2019
Socially-Organized Housing: the Geometry of Control, Program Minha Casa Minha Vida - Luís Correia/PI. Foto: Otávio Nogueira, via Flickr. Licencia CC BY 2.0
Program Minha Casa Minha Vida - Luís Correia/PI. Foto: Otávio Nogueira, via Flickr. Licencia CC BY 2.0

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.

Could 3D Printing be the Future of Social Housing?

07:00 - 26 June, 2019
Could 3D Printing be the Future of Social Housing?, Cortesia de ICON e New Story
Cortesia de ICON e New Story

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.

Cortesia de ICON e New Story © AI-SpaceFactory Cortesia de ICON e New Story Cortesia de ICON e New Story + 8

SO-IL Develop Prototype Social Housing for León, Mexico

09:00 - 10 June, 2019
SO-IL Develop Prototype Social Housing for León, Mexico, © SO-IL
© SO-IL

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.

© SO-IL © SO-IL © SO-IL © SO-IL + 8

Anti-Patterns of Social Housing in Latin America

06:30 - 15 April, 2019
Anti-Patterns of Social Housing in Latin America, <a href='https://www.plataformaarquitectura.cl/cl/893152/paraisos-siniestros-fotografias-aereas-de-vivienda-de-interes-social-el-mexico'>Paraísos Siniestros: vivienda de interés social en México</a>. Image © Jorge Taboada
Paraísos Siniestros: vivienda de interés social en México. Image © Jorge Taboada

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: 45 Examples in Plan and Section

06:00 - 31 March, 2019
Social Housing: 45 Examples in Plan and Section, Casa de Repouso Morangis / VOUS ETES ICI Architectes © 11H45
Casa de Repouso Morangis / VOUS ETES ICI Architectes © 11H45

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.

© Tim Crocker © Guy Wenborne © Sergio Grazia © Takuji Shimmura + 91

Socially-Organized Housing: Design That Establishes Emotional Ownership

08:30 - 23 March, 2019
Socially-Organized Housing: Design That Establishes Emotional Ownership, Vila Matilde House / Terra e Tuma Arquitetos Associados. Image © Pedro Kok
Vila Matilde House / Terra e Tuma Arquitetos Associados. Image © Pedro Kok

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 is Investing $500 Million in Seattle Affordable Housing

11:00 - 21 January, 2019
Microsoft is Investing $500 Million in Seattle Affordable Housing, Seattle WA. Image © Shutterstock
Seattle WA. Image © Shutterstock

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 design Residential District in Belgium

13:00 - 9 January, 2019
C.F. Møller Architects and BRUT design Residential District in Belgium, Courtesy of C.F. Møller Architects
Courtesy of C.F. Møller Architects

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.

Courtesy of C.F. Møller Architects Courtesy of C.F. Møller Architects Courtesy of C.F. Møller Architects Courtesy of C.F. Møller Architects + 8

6 Radical Experiments in Social Housing Exhibited by the RIBA and V&A

11:00 - 15 November, 2018
6 Radical Experiments in Social Housing Exhibited by the RIBA and V&A, © Martin Charles RIBA Collections
© Martin Charles RIBA Collections

The RIBA and Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) have joined forces to display six pioneering experiments in social housing from their archives. “A Home for All” features designs “from a tower block that up-ended the terraced street, to a DIY kit that encouraged residents to design their own homes.”

The six projects, all commissioned by public authorities, demonstrate both the crucial role played by the state in providing housing, and the role of the architect in creating high-quality housing through personal philosophy, new ideas, integration of best practice, and lessons from previous mistakes.

© Lasdun Archive RIBA Collections © RIBA Collections © Mary Duggan Architects © RIBA Collections + 8

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