Multnomah County to test backyard-granny flats program in hopes to ease Portland's homelessness crisis
Under the terms of the project, [Multnomah County] would build the granny flats and homeowners would get to keep them—a substantial property upgrade. In return, a homeowner would commit to a five-year lease of the backyard structure to a homeless family, without pocketing any rent.
"We're taking risks," says Mary Li, director of the Multnomah Idea Lab, a county policy center. "My hope is, we prove this concept, and we do 300 of these in the next 12 months."
— Willamette Week
As the homelessness crisis worsens in Portland, city and Multnomah County officials are under pressure to find solutions. One pilot project the county will test out is “A Place for You”, wherein the county would offer to essentially pay homeowners to build them a roughly 200-square-foot in... View full entry
The issue with the median as indicator of housing affordability
The standard yardstick for judging housing affordability is to look at the median level of rents or home prices. As we all remember from statistics, the median is the observation in the middle of the distribution. And while for many purposes, it’s a reliable indicator of typical prices, in some neighborhoods, particularly those with a mix of expensive and cheap housing, the median is actually a weak indicator of affordability.
— City Observatory
"For an illustration of this problem, imagine two neighborhoods. In both places, the median home costs $300,000. But in the first neighborhood, every home costs exactly $300,000, while in the second, there are a range of homes from $100,000 to $500,000. Although both neighborhoods have the same... View full entry
New Competition from Archistophanes: Complicity and Defiance in Architecture
This post is brought to you by Reality Cues. Architecture is historically complicit with the policies of those in power, both symbolically and functionally. It offers not only representations of power, but also vehicles for enacting power in its most grandiose, oppressive, and physically enduring... View full entry
Nothing constant but change in The Open Workshop's "Malleable Monuments"
With a stated goal of "reconciling and choreographing how the human and environmental subject and their individual, transforming, ephemeral, and often contradictory characteristics continuously recompose a permanent work," The Open Workshop's Malleable Monuments exhibition is a tour of three years... View full entry
Fearing a drop in skilled workers, Brexit Britain looks to prefab housing
The prospect of Brexit choking off the supply of EU workers is reshaping Britain's homebuilding industry, with big companies increasingly looking to factory-manufacture houses in sections that can be slotted together on-site with minimal labour.
Many of Britain's leading housebuilders, including Berkeley, Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon and Your Housing, told Reuters they were either planning new developments of prefabricated homes or considering doing so.
"You can almost feel the fear among the contractors and housebuilders where they've been surviving on labor from outside the country," says Mark Stevenson, a managing director of construction supplier Kingspan. "We're being pulled in a direction that customers want us to go in, from more work... View full entry
Studio Ma's "masterful texture" wins AIA Arizona's "Firm of the Year" Award
Studio Ma may be small, but their work is mighty, at least according to the Arizona chapter of the AIA. The woman-owned firm, which has completed projects for Princeton University as well as a series of museums, public libraries and mixed-use housing developments, won the AIA's "Firm of the Year"... View full entry
OMA's Dubai-based "Concrete" is pretty transparent
By placing a semi-transparent facade onto a series of former industrial warehouses in Dubai, OMA has created an arts-oriented, multi-disclipinary space called "Concrete." The completed version doesn't quite match the firm's optimistic renderings (in part because the concrete ameliorating foliage... View full entry
RIP the National Endowment of the Arts
The Hill has penned an obituary for the National Endowment of the Arts, following its defunding at the hands of the Trump administration and the current Republican-controlled government. As the obit notes, the NEA has been threatened many times before, notably in the 80’s and 90’s following a... View full entry
I Melt With You: "Indoor City" installation explores dissolving spatial boundaries in an era of climate change
With layered narration from writers and the input of a climate scientist, the 40-foot long table installation known as "Indoor City" designed by Founder Rome Prize Fellows Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem (MODU) with Jonathan Berger, Hussein Fancy, Christoph Meinrenken, Jack Livings and Matthew... View full entry
Christopher Gray, wry architecture author/researcher, dies at age 66
Rooting himself less in a strictly academic tradition and more in an observed, on-the-street context, architecture author and researcher Christopher Gray catalogued what he considered to be beautiful and surprising for The New York Times from 1987 to 2014 in his "Streetscapes" column. He also... View full entry
691 New Homes in North London given the go-ahead by Sadiq Khan
Announcing the decisions, Khan said he had fully considered all the evidence available and was “confident” both high-density developments would deliver hundreds of genuinely affordable homes for Londoners.
“Building the homes Londoners urgently need will mean town centres and suburbs becoming denser, so we expect developers to continue to come up with high-quality designs which don’t have a negative impact on their surroundings.”
— Building Design
Overruling councillors in two north London Boroughs, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has approved an Allies and Morrisson scheme in Tottenham Hale and another in Harrow by Moss Architecture; both will be high-density housing developments which together will deliver 691 new homes for Londoners within... View full entry
The conspicuous ethics of the Dubai Frame, opening date delayed to later this year
Raised as a monument to Dubai’s aspirations as a center of international commerce, the Frame is now a physical manifestation of the crude system that erected it.
— The New York Times
Considering the already controversial nature of the Dubai Frame, The New York Times recently published a piece on the project in relation to the city's “entrenched system [that notoriously] leaves outsiders vulnerable to mistreatment — from professionals sketching blueprints to construction... View full entry
The dictatorial aesthetic of Donald Trump
Trump’s design aesthetic is fascinatingly out of line with America’s past and present. If you doubt it, note that the interiors of the apartments his company actually sells bear no resemblance to the one he lives in. But that doesn’t mean his taste comes from nowhere. At one level, it’s aspirational, meant to project the wealth so many citizens can only dream of. But it also has important parallels...
The best aesthetic descriptor of Trump’s look, I’d argue, is dictator style. View full entry
Editor's Picks #465
Nicholas Korody profiled an on-going project 'Coded Plumbing', by QSPACE, a "queer architecture research organization" which "juxtaposes the language of these bills with the language of building codes, plumbing codes and best-practice standards, finding that design regulations parallel the... View full entry
In new report, U.S. infrastructure scores a D+
The American Society of Civil Engineers releases a report every four years that details the conditions and performance of American infrastructure. The group gives a letter grade—like with a school report card—and this year, America got a failing D+.Some of the dismal findings include:Only 51%... View full entry