Winner Announced for the Quad 2016 Competition

The Quad Competition is an international call for a social space installation. Proposals were challenged to envision a meaningful and impactful installation occupying a 20'x70' area that enriched the experience of social interactions. Proposals were asked to employ thoughtful and innovative exhibition and fabrication methods without sacrificing cost and feasibility of construction.

KiKi ARCHi, a Tokyo-based architecture design firm led by Yoshihiko Seki, was selected as the final winner among 6 finalists. The judging panel was impressed by the proposal's inventive use of a light-weight material, the thoughtful integration of research display, and the spatial quality the design is able to create. it is an elegant solution that's both sophisticated architecturally, and simple to fabricate.

WHAT'S IN engaging Boston communities

Our team join has joined forces with the Mayor's Housing Innovation Lab and Boston Society of Architects to bring the concept of compact urban living to six Boston neighborhoods. The outreach effort brought to life a 385 sf apartment called uhu (Urban Housing Unit), with prefabricated exterior and a sleek and functional interior, all of which designed with affordability in mind. 

WHAT'S IN designed a series of interactive games around the theme of communal spaces, compact living areas, and cost of renting a place in the city. The goal is to help the city find out what the neighborhoods are looking for in terms of housing affordability and what types of new living arrangements people would be comfortable with. 

Roslindale residents exploring the concept of compact urban living

Roslindale residents exploring the concept of compact urban living

The team also designed a board game that invites residents to consider the trade-offs among apartment sizes, access to transit and urban amenities. We found out that, so far, majority of our participant prioritize the balance between all these elements over size alone.  

Who's up for a board game? 

Who's up for a board game? 

The uhu welcoming guests from different neighborhoods. 385 sf could be very cozy when well designed. For more information about the uhu, visit www.liveuhu.com

The uhu welcoming guests from different neighborhoods. 385 sf could be very cozy when well designed. For more information about the uhu, visit www.liveuhu.com

ABX 2015

Our hard work finally paid off!  On November 17-19th, the Urban Living Lab exhibit welcomed its visitors with research data in Boston housing, small living design solutions, robotic architecture from MIT media Lab, and a virtual mock showcasing all the designs WHAT'S IN came up with over the past year. 

The exhibit structure is composed of 17 bays L-Shape 2x4 lumber connected on hinges. When each bay is expanded and placed at 3 ' apart, the structure takes shape of a series of truss-like gable pavilions. The display boards, painted on the exterior and laminated with our graphics on the interior, acts as a rigid diaphragm for the structure. Overall, each pavilion is themed with a research topic and is turned open on plan to allow entrance into the interior.

Each of the four pavilions take on a specific topic from WHAT'S IN design research.  Pavilion one asks "how to address growing housing demands by year 2030", revealing the dire shortage of housing stock in Boston and the rapid increase in rental prices. Pavilion two proposed using "small-living" as a model for more affordable urban living, surveying exiting projects and proposing new designs in this relatively new typology. This pavilion also includes the studio work from the Roger Williams University students on their designs for a small-urban living project in South Boston.

Pavilion three looks for technology solutions to make small living spaces feel larger, showcasing the Architecture Robotics project from MIT Media Lab, and the Multi-wall product that could be customized with a variety of purposes. Pavilion four investigated solutions to building more small-living for affordable workforce housing in Boston, including policy changes proposed by the Mayor's Housing Innovation Lab, prefab and modular construction methods comparisons, as well as a discussion on the appropriate scale and structural system for this new housing typology.

Great many thanks to everyone that made this exhibit happen. We are really grateful for the Boston Society of Architects for including us again for ABX,  Castle OS, HIL, Cubiq, RWU and MIT Media Lab for content collaboration, Whitney Veigas for donating time and resources for our graphics application, HBF/Davis/Lowenstein/Bernhardt/Redthread for their beautiful furniture pieces,  and Stantec for all its continued financial support and much more beyond.

Making our cities affordable and livable will take more than just design, We had a lot of good discussions during the exhibit with students, housing experts, disruptive innovators, and policy makers. As a research group, we will keep exploring key aspects of the topic, and keep a platform of discussion going across different fields. See you next year!


ONEin3 Impact Award

Aeron Hodges Receives ONEin3 impact award from Mayor on behalf of the WHAT'S IN team

Aeron (left) with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and other OneIn3 award winners. (Photo by the Mayor’s Office/Don Harney)

Aeron (left) with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and other OneIn3 award winners. (Photo by the Mayor’s Office/Don Harney)

We are ready to change the city, are you?

DESIGN BREW

As part of the crowd sourcing effort, WHAT'S IN organized a design workshop with the architects and interior designers from ADD Inc. / Stantec. Everyone was asked to design a 300 sf dream unit for themselves.

What's your ideal 300 sf? 

* drawings produced by Animish Kudalkar