WHAT'S IN: innovation in emerging urban living environments


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!

Aeron HodgesComment