Posts tagged ‘housing’

SFI12: Quantifiable impact.

Part 4 of 5

The third panel was full of projects with clearly recognizable social, environmental, and economical impact. BNIM Architecture’s SEED award winning Bancroft School Revitalization was the first project presented, including heartfelt anecdotes by the neighborhood association’s president, Sandra Hayes. One of her biggest takeaways from this project is that “to be a change agent, you have to build relationships.” Tim Duggan, the landscape architect on the project and a long-term collaborator with BNIM, described another challenge for the team: creating a design language for Manheim that is distinct but still local. Duggan admitted that it’s a tricky but very important line to navigate.

rendering of Bancroft School Revitalization by BNIM and Make It Right

The next speaker was Green Guide for Health Care co-founder Gail Vittori, who realized 12 years ago that “no one was really connecting human health & the built environment.” The work that she has done and encouraged others to do (including some great progress by my employer, Perkins+Will!) has moved healthcare facilities forward by leaps and bounds. Now, the standard for hospital design is finally shifting toward healthy food, water and energy savings, and carcinogen free building materials. When asked about mobilizing this type of change, specifically though the effect of a “multiplier,” Vittori shared that employee retention in a powerful motivator in healthcare; statistics show that nurses stay in their jobs longer when there’s a green commitment from their employer, and hospitals clearly understand the value of lower turnover.

The always entertaining Pliny Fisk, co-founder of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, also shared some pieces of his portfolio. His project goals are strongly rooted in social impact and understanding, making him and Vittori (his wife) quite the power couple of public interest design. With his projects, Fisk said that his aim is for clients to think “that crazy American, he actually understands who we are as a culture.” In my opinion, it’s a goal that’s far from crazy.

MASS Design Group aims for triple bottom line impact with all their projects, including construction of housing for Butaro Hospital’s doctors

Michael Murphy and Tanya Paz were up next, presenting MASS Design Group’s SEED award winning Nyanza hospital. Murphy shared that designing “healthier environments” was the primary goal in founding the non-profit firm, a goal that has definitely been achieved with their celebrated Butaro hospital. The Nyanza project has many of the same goals as Butaro, but is located on a much tighter site, making it both a challenging and very rewarding project to work on.

When the audience asked this panel how we can improve legislation to make healthier cities, several great answers were offered. BNIM’s Sam De Jong reaffirmed the power of seeing the local community as a partner. Duggan reminded the audience to vote! And moderator Michael Gatto added by saying that we all need to be “solutionary” in our approaches.

April 7’s daily design idea is a quote by Make It Right’s Tim Duggan: “the moment you quantify the benefits, the bean counter will understand the value of tree hugging.”


April 7, 2012 at 9:42 pm Leave a comment

Awesome new housing concept causes serious self reflection.

From a distanced perspective, everything about K’House is phenomenal. The Philadelphia-based coworking community Indy Hall has teamed up with uber-cost efficient and sustainable residential developers Postgreen Homes and with award-winning architecture firm DIGSAU to propose a new brand of co-housing. The project’s values are “community, openness, sustainability, accessibility and collaboration.”

rendering of K’House by Postgreen Homes (especially amazing compared with the before shot)

So what’s not to love? It’s hard for me to admit this, but I’m hesitant enough about living with one other person – despite the obvious benefits (including cost and energy savings, increased safety, opportunities for socializing, and more) – let alone a true, shared, intentional community. That said, I’d love to come around to the idea of living in this type of development/neighborhood. Maybe Indy Hall will consider accepting tenants for trial periods?

March 6’s daily design idea is what is your comfort zone for the scale of your home (and particularly the number of people you share it with)?

March 6, 2012 at 11:27 pm Leave a comment

Tweeting on housing: Co.Design

via @FastCoDesign (Feb 12, 2012):

“America has changed dramatically since the 20th-century rise and proliferation of the suburban single-family home (and we’re not just talking about an influx of immigrants, but also more single-parent families, multi-generation families, and so on). The housing stock has not. Gang and Lindsay show how elegant little design tweaks here and there can redefine home ownership to better reflect both the social and financial realities of Americans today.”

Read the rest of the Co.Design article here. Read its source content, written by Jeanne Gang and Greg Lindsay and published in the New York Times, here.

Rendering of “The Garden in the Machine,” a proposal by Studio Gang “for transforming the inner-ring suburb of Cicero, Illinois, to better meet the living and working needs of its residents.” The proposal was developed for The Museum of Modern Art’s Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream exhibition.

February 19’s daily design idea is a quote from the Times article by Gang and Lindsay: “instead of forcing families to fit into a house, what if we rearranged the house to fit them?”

February 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm Leave a comment

Tektonomastics: The Building Names Project

Re-blogged from Urban Omnibus.
Written by Haruka Horiuchi and Frank Hebbert.
Originally posted October 6, 2010.

“The notion of multi-family housing in New York brings to mind unromantic concepts like density, (un)affordability or noisy neighbors. But maybe there are some simple ways to re-enchant the idea of dense urban living. This week’s feature offers one such strategy: identifying, mapping and analyzing those residential buildings that have proper names. 150 years ago, a residential structure for more than one family meant tenement, plain and simple. And in order to convince residents that sharing a roof and some walls with unrelated neighbors didn’t have to confer a social stigma, property developers had to do some marketing, 19th Century style. The practice of naming buildings is still in effect, but remains subordinate to the more homogenizing numerical identifiers of address or grid. Help tektonomasticians Haruka Horiuchi and Frank Hebbert put a more personal face on New York’s building stock by adding a building to their citywide map of named buildings. Here, the two of them describe what they are up to with this project in advance of their psychogeographic tour of the named buildings of the East Village and this weekend’s Conflux Festival. Read more below, join them this weekend, and contribute to their growing database. -C.S. [Cassim Shepard]

Tektonomastics: The Building Names Project is a collaborative effort to map the named residential buildings of New York City and beyond. But first, what does tektonomastics mean anyway?

>> find out after the jump

Continue Reading October 24, 2010 at 11:48 am Leave a comment

Architecture for Change Summit by Gisela Garrett

Re-blogged from Ecohaven Project.
Written by Jennifer Hoffman.
Originally posted October 21, 2010.
Copyright Ecohaven Project 2010.

“This past September I had the pleasure of meeting New York-based Gisela Garrett at the Architecture for Change Summit held @ UIC. I loved Gisela’s series she wrote about Public Interest Architecture in response to the summit for her blog, Daily Design Idea + asked if she would write a piece for Ecohaven Project. We look forward to future collaborations with Gisela – check out her bio on our Collaborators page. Enjoy!

>> read the piece after the jump

Continue Reading October 21, 2010 at 10:36 am Leave a comment

Construction Has Begun on the Two Point Five

Re-blogged from Postgreen Homes.
Written by Nic Darling.
Originally posted October 7, 2010.
© 2010 Postgreen

“After a variety of the usual permitting and financing delays we have finally begun construction of the Two Point Five. As usual this process begins with a hole . . .

Two Point Five Groundbreaking

This single house is already sold and we are in a hurry to get it up for the nice folks waiting to move in. Of course, this phase of construction is very dependent on the cooperation of the weather and may be further complicated by the distractions of another possible World Series run by the Phillies (Go Phils!). However, even with all of those factors we are still confident in Hybrid Construction’s ability to build this house quickly. Stay tuned for regular construction updates and plenty of additional details as we progress.”

>> October 7’s daily design idea is stay tuned in on your favorite projects; more and more designers are moving towards transparency in their process.

October 7, 2010 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

“We don’t build affordable housing. We build housing that is made affordable through subsidy.”

At Architecture for Change, Daniel Glenn of environmental works led the program “Too costly for affordability,” which explored the causes of relatively high costs of affordable housing projects in addition to the diversity of unofficial or illegal, but very real, affordable housing worldwide.

The fact is that squatter settlements make up most of the world’s privately built affordable housing stock. In addition, people in many countries live in nomadic shelters, cars, storage spaces, and on friend’s couches. Many individuals have also lived in college dorms with minimal personal amenities and in other forms of communal housing. Why then, asked Glenn, is there no cultural or legal standard for these types of housing in America’s longterm private housing market? In an effort to help alleviate the current housing crisis, should architects consider providing more at a somewhat lower quality instead of less at the current middle class standard?

Later in the presentation, Glenn pointed out that affordable housing projects generally take 5x the funding sources and 2x the time to complete as market-rate housing projects. So even with low materials costs, there is significant time and money used in supporting fundraising, legal, and other administrative efforts. This was reaffirmed by panel member Peter Landon, an architect, professor, and the one quoted in the title of today’s post. Recognizing this administrative burden, they asked: how can we change the business structures and, in particular, streamline funding in order to reduce these soft costs?

Despite the great panel discussion, which also included Fred Bonner of Bonheur Development Corporation, and the enthusiastic Q&A from the audience, all of these questions remain difficult and unanswered. The good news is that they are being asked increasingly at conferences, in articles, and generally amongst designers.

September 27’s daily design idea is a quote from Anna Muoio: “the challenge is to create a business model that is viable and demonstrates the value of this work.”

left photo of a squatter settlement in Durban by Flickr user Easy Traveler; right photo of Westhaven Park Phase IIB by Landon Bone Baker Architects, a mixed-income development including 45 affordable units

This post is 6 of 7 within a series exploring Public Interest Architecture.

September 27, 2010 at 4:38 pm 1 comment

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