WHAT'S IN: innovation in emerging urban living environments


Past Exhibits

ABX 2018: QUAD

ABX 2017: QUAD Competition Winning Entry: [re]Active by Gensler

ABX 2016: QUAD Competition Winning Entry: Folding Paper by KiKi ARCHi

ABX 2015: urban living lab

This year the theme of the WHAT'S IN exhibit will be an urban living lab. Out talented team of researchers and collaborators are hard at work finalizing the design and testing materials. Our research and focus group findings will be integrated into this interactive exhibit, so mark your calendars and come check us out at ABX 2015, this November 17 - 19!  

ABX 2014:  PipeLine

ABX 2014: PipeLine

ABX 2014: PipeLine

In 2014, the team focused on analyzing many important facets of a small-living including community engagement, density, location, sustainable design, and financial feasibility. We collaborated with Federal Home Loan Bank, and learned through many case studies projects. We want to know what it will take to develop a project on our own.

The ABX 2014 exhibit by WHAT’S IN, titled PipeLine, was designed to showcase our research findings. It was a series of vinyl pipes, colorful strings, and fabric hinged wood panels composed in undulating shapes in order to simulate the experience of surfing under waves. In addition to our research boards, it also included a compilation of the Bank’s Affordable Housing Competition from the past four years. Pipeline was a social space for people on the exhibit floor, a place to take a break from the day’s activities, meet and mingle with conference attendees and learn more about the intricacies of affordability in Boston.

Check out the 2014 RESEARCH page to view the boards.

ABX 2014:  The Cloud Forest

ABX 2014: The Cloud Forest

ABX 2013: The Cloud Forest // featuring the QUAD

How to build a space that is flexible to arrange, portable, and affordable? The WHAT’S IN team was determined to solve this problem during the 2013 ABX. The answer was obvious: Inflatables! It is easy to store, easy to deploy, and light-weight enough to reconfigure different spaces. Working with an extremely limited budget, the team had to test multiple materials to find the most cost-efficient product. At $5 a sheet, plastic drop cloth became the fabric for the infallibles. It is easy to work with, and light enough so that it doesn’t weigh down the structure.

It is not trivial to experiment with a new type of structure and construction method, but the team pulled it off with a lot of perseverance and a pinch of naivety. The Cloud Forest creates sense of scale and intimacy within a large scales exhibit hall. It is attention-grabbing, and became a hot spot for social interaction in public spaces.

ABX 2014:  The Cloud Forest

ABX 2014: The Cloud Forest

The QUAD is a fully adaptable public space for spontaneous social interaction. It does not prescribe your activities in the space, but rather, it serves as a platform for discussion and common ground. The QUAD showcases the winning entries for reGEN Boston, an international housing competition, as well as the “Neighborhood Livability Research” by WHAT’S IN. We are presenting the research that has been produced and organized over the last 12 months. 

Check out the 2013 RESEARCH page to view the boards that were displayed during this year's installation.

ABX 2012:  the micro-unit

ABX 2012: the micro-unit

ABX 2012

WHAT’S IN is a collaboration between ADD Inc/Stantec and ONEin3 Boston, an organization founded by Mayor Thomas M. Menino to serve the one-third of Boston’s population that is between the ages of 20 and 34 through programs that connect young adults with resources related to home buying, business development, professional networking, and civic engagement. WHAT’s IN was formed to question, investigate and design through the dilemma of creating affordable living environments for city dwellers. This 300 square foot mock-up of a Micro-Unit, which was recently exhibited at Boston’s ABX Convention, proposes an alternative to current market rate metrics.

The Boston Society of Architects invited the WHAT'S IN team to install the micro-unit at their BSA Space to encourage the public to experience smaller living. 

Check out the 2012 RESEARCH page to view the wall graphic.