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Housing Proposal

  • 1.  Housing Proposal

    Posted 28 days ago

    Dear All

    Included is a proposal I have made to help solve International housing problems.

    It is an ambitious proposal but one I believe we should spearhead.    Please let me know your thoughts,

    Thanks

    Jan Wampler

    Housing Proposal

    Preliminary

    October 20, 2019

    Jan Wampler


        A world population of 1.6 billion, or more than 20% of the total world population, has inadequate housing. This is about the size of the North and South American populations combined, or close to the total population of China. Inadequate housing includes lack of the following basic human necessities: water, sanitation, protection from the elements, ventilation, comfortable living space, safe cooking methods, and much more.

    In 1948, Eleanor Roosevelt presented to the United Nations a Bill of Rights for all citizens of the world. This included the right to housing, emphasizing that housing should be a human right, not merely an amenity. However, 70 years later, this problem not only remains unsolved, but has become worse, due to the movement of citizens to urban settlements and large increases in world population.

    As architects, we are best suited to deal with the problem, because designing the fundamental, universal necessity of a roof over one's head is a large part of our profession. Yet we remain underappreciated by the general public. Often the word "architect" is used to explain an event such as "the architect of the war," "the flawed architect," or "the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks." Nor are we always given proper credit for what we do. A rendering of a new building that may have taken years to design is often called "an artist's conception of a proposed project" rather than the design, by an architect, of an actual building or house awaiting construction.

     Perhaps if we had a larger role in the world and addressed issues that are important to the physical world, this might change the public perception of architects and their central roles in society. For we are, along with planners and landscape architects, the custodians of the physical world, providing what everyone needs most to survive and thrive: shelter and housing.

    This proposal is for architects to take on the task of creating adequate housing for the entire world population. Although this is a large assignment, we might be able to start the process, as we are a very creative profession.

    And we need to start the process urgently, as numerous types of housing are desperately needed: homeless, migrant, disaster, family and senior housing, to name a few of more than twenty types of necessary shelter and protection.

    We, as architects, must not produce a general, cookie-cutter solution of the kind that might have been presented in the past. We must advance housing proposals that are designed, tailored and customized for specific cultural conditions, geographic locations, local materials, climate change conditions, and particular human needs. More than 150 conditions around the world must be met, and each requires an individual solution.

    I thereby propose a three-year program that would begin in the academic world but would be in coordination with practicing architects. Every school of architecture has a first-year design project, usually containing abstract problems for students to solve. Instead of asking them to design only abstract projects, we could present them with a concrete problem: to design a house for a particular location with specific housing criteria, to build it with local materials that will withstand, say, hurricanes and earthquakes, and to relate the construction to the local culture as well as regional geographic and climatic conditions, including issues of climate change. A person from that area who is well versed in its physical, topographical and meteorological characteristics would be brought to the school to act as a consultant to each project.

    As North America has approximately 150 schools of architecture, they would generate more than 5,000 solutions. Students could work in teams with faculty and practicing architects to produce a large number of solutions from each school. These designs could be compiled into an exhibition to be presented at the United Nations, along with a booklet describing, detailing and illustrating each solution. During that year, other advanced studios could focus on global housing and encourage thesis students to pursue this as a topic for their research and creative design solutions. The faculty at each of these schools and studios would be joined by a local practicing architect in a targeted region or community to help guide the development of the needs-specific housing there.

    In the summer, selected students, faculty and practicing architects could visit the country to construct a prototype of the housing to be built there, with extensive input from local residents to make sure this prototype meets local needs.

    Funds for this research project could come from schools, local AIA chapters, private donors, and selected countries providing in-kind contributions such as housing and food. The project would be repeated for the next two years using different housing types, and selected solutions would be showcased in an international exhibition. Funding for construction of these designs might come from our government, local governments in the countries where the housing is to be built, private individual and corporate donors, and the national AIA headquarters.

    Housing is the key first step to begin the improvement of the lives of the underprivileged. Once people have adequate homes, the next step would be to design affordable education, medical and daycare facilities through the same academic and fieldwork process by which we designed their housing.

    This would bring architects further onto the international stage and suggest a strong focus for our profession. This focus would propel us to use our unique expertise in adaptation of time-tested design/build standards to specific social, economic, topographical and ecological conditions so we can eliminate homelessness, displacement from disasters, slum conditions, residential overcrowding, and other hindrances to the livable, affordable housing we all need.

     

         Our new mission might be -  to help those who urgently need our help. 

     

     


    Jan Wampler, FAIA
    Distinguished Professor, ACSA
    Markborough Endowed Professor, USF
    Professor of Architecture, Emeritus, MIT
    Jan Wampler Studio  Architecture/Urban Design
    Office 617 253 7904
    Cell     617 763 4908
    wampler@mit.edu

     

     



  • 2.  RE: Housing Proposal

    Posted 26 days ago
    Jan,
    Ambitious, yes. But most great accomplishments seemed impossible to the bystanders until someone who believed in it got it done.

    Best of luck!
    Kurt Neubek, FAIA
    Principal / Healthcare Practice Leader
    Page




  • 3.  RE: Housing Proposal

    Posted 26 days ago
    Thanks Kurt
    For your support and encouraging words.
    Jan
    Jan Wampler, FAIA
    Distinguished Professor, ACSA
    Markborough Endowed Professor, USF
    Professor of Architecture, Emeritus, MIT
    Jan Wampler Studio  Architecture/Urban Design
    Office 617 253 7904
    Cell     617 763 4908
    wampler@mit.edu

     

     






  • 4.  RE: Housing Proposal

    Posted 23 days ago
    I, too, think this an excellent idea, Jan, but I worry many architecture schools' narrow focus on meeting NAAB's requirements will be a roadblock to getting attention. The solution, of course, is simple: money.

    If there were a $1 million prize awarded each year to the school with the best solutions, I'd wager most academic institutions would jump on board. Thee million bucks seem like a lot to raise, but given the visibility and magnitude of the problem, it may not be. Corporate sponsors and national governments might embrace the idea with zeal.

    ------------------------------
    Richard Buday FAIA
    Archimage, Inc.
    Houston TX
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Housing Proposal

    Posted 23 days ago
    HI Richard
    Thanks for the email.  
    Not sure NAAB would object if only for a short time of the semester.  Of course the students need some basic design training, which they can get first and then apply to a actual project while teaming with practitioners and other consultants.  It might be a superb learning experience.
    Your idea of offering a economic incentive is brilliant.  It certainly would give more support for the idea and national attention. Some of that money should go back to the country/culture that is guiding the work.
    So thanks again
    Jan


    Jan Wampler, FAIA
    Distinguished Professor, ACSA
    Markborough Endowed Professor, USF
    Professor of Architecture, Emeritus, MIT
    Jan Wampler Studio  Architecture/Urban Design
    Office 617 253 7904
    Cell     617 763 4908
    wampler@mit.edu

     

     






  • 6.  RE: Housing Proposal

    Posted 11 days ago

    Hello, Jan.

    I am Dean of Woodbury School of Architecture and was interested to read about your proposal. In fact, I and my colleagues have declared this academic year the Year of Housing at our 420+ student School. Here is a link to our School-wide Housing+ initiative, and below is the call that I sent to our community at the beginning of the year. As part of this initiative, not only are many of our design studios are focusing on housing, our San Diego campus recently hosted a campus-wide charrette, (sponsored by AIA Academy of Justice), and our Burbank campus hosted the 'Frontier Housing' symposium at Gensler featuring some remarkable designers who are addressing our local housing crisis. Housing+ will culminate in a School-wide exhibition on our campus next spring, coinciding with the AIA National Conference here in Los Angeles. As a small, non-profit, majority minority institution located in Southern California (our two campuses are in North Los Angeles and in San Diego), with over 70% of our students identifying as minority, this issue hits very close to home for all of us. Please reach out to me directly at ingalill.wahlroos-ritter@woodbury.edu if you are interested in supporting our initiative. I would love to see our initiative continue.

    Sincerely,
    Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter, FAIA


    Here is the call we sent out in August at the beginning of our academic year:

    HOUSING + is a year-long program of lectures, exhibitions and studio inquiries focused on a topic that is of particular relevance to Woodbury School of Architecture. We invite all faculty to address the topic of housing in their courses in the next academic year, 2019-20.

    THE HOUSING PROJECT

    Eames, Schindler, Neutra, Morgan, Greene & Greene, Wright, Williams, Gehry, Lautner; dingbats, craftsman bungalows, courtyard apartments, McMansions: From avant-garde to vernacular, Southern California's best-known architecture is unquestionably domestic. Paradoxically, in a region where over 80% of our cities are zoned R1, the scale of California's housing crisis is striking. The shortage is estimated at 3-4 million housing units, with over 130,000 homeless, constituting a staggering quarter of the national total. It's time for architects and designers to rethink California's housing typologies.

    And yet, many in the design professions have remained notoriously absent from the discussion, claiming that architecture cannot solve the housing crisis. In her introduction to the book Housing as Intervention, Karen Kubey states that "though it was Modernism's central project, 'housing' is often considered separate from 'architecture.'" She cites Susanne Schindler in stating that housing is a 'socioeconomic product to be delivered at the least possible cost', while architecture is considered a 'cultural endeavor.' With regulatory constraints, financial and developer pressures, and community NIMBYism, the traditional role of the architect in housing design, particularly affordable housing, has eroded. As author Sam Lubell observes, "All it takes is a visit to the Inland Empire, Orange County, the outskirts of Sacramento or many parts of Silicon Valley to understand that the mass-produced housing stock in our country has become, with a few welcome exceptions, architecturally, urbanistically, and morally bankrupt."

    Woodbury School of Architecture, a school that importantly incorporates architecture, interior design, and real estate development programs, believes that affordable housing is a critical architectural question and a basic human right.

    THE FUTURE OF PRACTICE

    We invite our faculty for the 2019-2020 academic year to define the 'plus' in their housing projects as a means of examining the future of practice. Recent calls to action that ask architects to help with the housing crisis contain within them a larger critique of the discipline and profession of architecture. It is not housing per se that we have turned our backs on (every school teaches housing studios) but rather the processes and values, embodied most vividly in housing as a project, that are currently throwing the whole discipline into question. Indeed, most buildings are now shaped by non-architectural parameters embodied in housing: policy, economics, the rule of the marketplace, bureaucracy, techniques of construction administration, and codes. That we have turned our backs on housing is simply evidence that we have turned our backs on broader pressures facing the profession.

    Implicit in the call for new models of housing is a call for new models of practice. Housing + aims to develop projects that positively transform the built environment while identifying new opportunities arising from an examination of the traditional objects of our domain (buildings, cities, landscape, interior environments) from the perspective of new modes of design activity, new value systems, new procurement models, and new clients operating in ways that we might not yet recognize. How do we respond to the challenges posed by tools that are changing, stealing, or eliminating entirely the tasks that have traditionally characterized practice, by new models of project financing, and client operations demanding new expertise on the part of consultants, and by technology that offers not only a new means to an aesthetic end but entirely new aesthetic value systems?

    TOPICS + PARTNERS

    Please work with the dean and chairs to identify a housing project, community, and/or professional partner with whom to collaborate.






    ------------------------------
    Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter FAIA
    WROAD
    Los Angeles CA
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Housing Proposal

    Posted 8 days ago
    I lead an urban design  program at the John Hay High School of Architecture and Design. This past June, we participated in a design competition for housing to accommodate disabled and create beautiful places for residents with disabilities. The competition was sponsored by North Coast Community Housing. The high school students developed some great responses that were included in an exhibition of all of the design winners.


    ------------------------------
    Judson Kline, FAIA
    President
    CIVITAD Services, LLC
    Cleveland, Ohio
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Housing Proposal

    Posted 8 days ago
    Jan, your proposal is amazing and I commend you for your passion and far reaching goals. There are many ideas here that are worthy of consideration but there is one essential issue which I find problematic. The issue is the results. Architects, of which I am one of course, think that all can be solved by design. I agree that our contribution is best directed in this space, but in doing so we miss the primary cause of the housing problem—That is economic separation, which is becoming even more critical with the growing gap between the upper 10% and the rest of the people. This economic disparity is fueled by countless minimum wage jobs in the US and the pervasive near slave third world worker who toils to feed our insatiable hunger for “stuff” that we really don’t need. Until we find a solution that puts money in the hands of 90% of the world’s people, I am afraid the best of our architectural intentions will mean very little. Architect Magazine made a huge splash when architects designed houses in New Orleans after Katrina, but the result was simply an exhibition of design creativity that did very little on the ground, where housing has never been built to replace what was lost. Let me be clear, I don’t want to throw water on your passion and your zeal to do something. But I think that enthusiasm might best be suited to finding fair paying gainful employment for the masses, and in finding a way to fund the shortage of housing, caused by greater demand and no supply, that continues to push the price of homes higher and higher, while people’s wages remain stagnant, further separating the haves and have nots. The problem is so complex, reflecting on our society’s demand for consumption that fuels virtual slave labor in the third world countries of the world. Meanwhile, our cities are choking to death because of inadequate infrastructure, and an economic model that incentivizes growth and economic development that feeds the wealth of the community while pushing up the cost of living at all levels and especially in housing. Instead of doing a school design project, why not team students and practitioners with economists, sociologists, developers and politicians to create viable solutions for the housing crisis, along with the means to pay for it, and with a solution to economic disparity through better education and better, fair paying jobs. Ultimately, the problem will only the solved when great minds come together and first understand the problem and it’s cause, then to address the problem from a wholistic perspective and with the political will to actually make the structural changes necessary for a lasting answer. If we want real respect as a player in this problem, we must recognize that our perspective on design really has not been relevant to the real housing problem. After all, a minimal amount of all housing is designed by architects with the majority built by builders or communities who already build indigenous housing with whatever resources they have. We can’t continue as a profession to seek relevancy when what we usually design is the most expensive, extravagant housing for the upper 1%, that gets displayed year after year in Record Homes, or worse, Architectural Digest. As for multi family design, there are countless examples of architects who “designed” housing in the US, China, India, and around the world that were abandoned because the “social experiment” was flawed from the get go. We now know that we can’t simply engineer social and economic change with mass housing. It simply has not, and won’t work. I suggest to really make a difference we need to get beyond architecture to engage in a real, and salient engagement of the housing crisis in totality, and then become outspoken leaders for necessary solutions that involve not only what to build, but the ways and means to do so. Bottom line is that as architects, we have other skills that may be more relevant than design. We are great conveners of expertise and leaders of teams, and we are great at problem seeking and problem solving. Let’s get beyond our design dreams and instead take the initiative to convene the best of the best and really attack this head on. Let’s open up the issue to the public at large, and create virtual problem solving that engages everyone. It is what we do so well in every project we design. Then we might very well get the visibility we seek and more importantly catalyze solutions that might just make a difference.

    I commend you for starting the discussion and for the opportunity for us all to participate in this dialogue. It is the right crisis, just the wrong way to tackle it.





    Sent from my iPad




  • 9.  RE: Housing Proposal

    Posted 7 days ago
    Dear Richard:
     
    Thank you for your well-written comments. I certainly agree with you on all of the issues you have brought up. I have, indeed, thought about them as part of my housing proposal, hoping that bringing international attention to the world's housing crisis would initiate the process you are proposing. Also, during the course of construction of the proposed project, the residents would be involved in the building process and paid for their services. By learning construction skills this way, they would gain abilities that could benefit them for the employment.
     
    Also, your proposal to merge architects and architecture students with economists, sociologists, developers and politicians in a team effort toward virtual problem-solving could certainly happen simultaneously with my studio's housing proposal. There is not one answer to the international housing, poverty, environmental and economic disparity crisis, as you have suggested, but we have to start somewhere. And I am simply proposing to begin with affordable, community-built housing as a catalyst for the global meeting of the minds you speak of, to begin to satisfy a fundamental human need: quality shelter as a center of protection and sustenance for the masses. Furthermore, this indigenous community approach to housing would be a socially responsible alternative to the Architectural Digest extravagance reserved for the upper 1% that you mentioned.
     
    Finally, I strongly believe there are idealists out there who would gladly donate funds to start the proposed housing process, once they know its purpose. This is our role as architects, as we can visualize ideas from drawing on extensive research on the cultural, environmental and socioeconomic conditions of regions targeted for housing that reflects and responds to those concerns. In my own work throughout the world, I have found that the act of presenting physical ideas has led to funding and positive changes. Architectural models and graphics of a proposed project are strong motivators for the next stage of funding and the consequent improvement of residents' lives.
     
    Of course, this is an ambitious idea and will require a lot of coordination among multiple parties and institutions. But it is a worthy cause for both us architects and the needy residents of the world. Thank you again for your thoughts.
     
    Best regards,
    Jan
     

     

    Jan Wampler, FAIA
    Distinguished Professor, ACSA
    Markborough Endowed Professor, USF
    Professor of Architecture, Emeritus, MIT
    Jan Wampler Studio  Architecture/Urban Design
    Office 617 253 7904
    Cell     617 763 4908
    wampler@mit.edu

     

     






  • 10.  RE: Housing Proposal

    Posted 6 days ago
    I am very interested in this chat about housing. I am old enough to remember when architects concerned themselves with the art of architecture and their specialty was good and appropriate design. Design that had a purpose and generated from a concept. The integrative of quantitate and qualitative ingredients. Not only the current reliance of quantitate ingredient because it can be measured with a well detailed suit or dress worn.
    I would call attention to the Dutch de stijl movement. This was government supported very well designed pieces of art for low income housing. Built with substantial materials for sustainability and low maintenance over time. Identifiable icons or masterworks within the community. Not the cheapest buildings which will not withstand their financing on leftover or reclaimed sites. These are buildings that are not abused by their inhabitants because they are better than the private sector version, "A Pride of Place". Every part and element of these buildings were a piece of art and made to be special. Now over 100 years old they still represent the best society could make. They are highly prized by the community and with pride for those who live there. They are special and  better build, designed and cared for than the current built mass housing for the middle and high income dwellers, Yes a proof that well designed buildings, ones that the community and dwellers can relate to and care for will be sustainable without caring of they can be recycled.

    Otto P. Poticha, FAIA
    Poticha Architects
    1820 Kona St. Eugene, OR 97403










  • 11.  RE: Housing Proposal

    Posted 7 days ago
    My two cents, based on decades of designing, teaching and writing about affordable housing:
    1. Americans expect too many square feet of residential space. Our dwelling units are much bigger than anyone’s, included prosperous, sophisticated European countries.
    2. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are the low-hanging fruit - internal, attached, detached and over garages.

    Doug