The new American Dream: 100K(+ 20) | Starter Home

Multi-Generational Families by cyu14

In previous decades, an individualist mindset and affordable housing in the United States slowed the once traditional progression of parent-child to child-parent living arrangements. Second and third generation families were not returning to the family home.  A common outcome: elderly parents selling their home to live out their lives in planned communities for the aging or assisted living. The current economic slowdown, longer life spans and changing cultural values are now causing families to re-adjust their living situations. The frequency of multi-generational households is on the rise and Grandma and Grandpa are now competing with their teenage grandchildren for control of the remote.

Families are now looking for ways to either modify or build a home to satisfy the needs of young children along with those of aging parents, accessibility and privacy are resulting concerns. Developer Jim Greenup, of Spokane, Washington, comments on the resulting frustration of current housing types for multi-generational families. “Twenty to 25 percent of families in America are caring for an aging relative, and duplexes aren’t designed right for the concept of joined housing. There are problems, because the bathrooms don’t work right for aging in place, and the stairways and other circulators do not function well.”

Multi-Generational House, Kyoto, 3-- Lab

 In Kyoto, Japan an interesting multi-generational solution has been designed by Hiroe Yoshida and Tomoki Odani of 3 – – lab.  An office space for a young couple and a home for their aging parents is melded into a 259 square foot duplex.  View slideshow.

Moriyama House by cyu14
September 2, 2008, 9:27 am
Filed under: precedents, Social / Cultural Issue | Tags: , , ,

Located on a suburban lot in Tokyo, the Office of Ryue Nishizawa  (also partnered with Kazuyo Sejima to form SANNA) has a designed a community in the form of a house. Ten individual building units, built from pre-manufactured steel panels, are composed to create a flexible living space housing anywhere from one occupant to six additional renters.

Moriyama House - Tokyo, Japan

The premise of the compound explores the boundaries of public and private space. Although each individual unit is primarily private, the ample interstitial space lends itself to impromtu interaction, conversations and gatherings between tenants and the occasional passerby.

The floor plans, as well as 360 degree views, can be found at The Japan Architect.  Additional information can be found in the Dec/Jan 2007 issue of Dwell magazine.

House Typology by joelzook
August 31, 2008, 2:34 pm
Filed under: precedents | Tags:


“Even in a cursory study of American house types, it is important to focus on basic forms to achieve an understanding of more complex and sophisticated ones”

-Steven Holl, Pamphlet Architecture no. 9. pg 5.

Early American houses can generally be divided into several main categories, all growing from the original one room house. Houses changed over the years and were added on to, either an addition on an existing house or expanding on an earlier type. The “saddlebag” house type is a two room house on either side of a chimney. Examples of this type exist where the second room was an addition while others were planned as such from the beginning. “Dogtrot” houses were common in the South, where the hot climate made a covered breezeway between two rooms desirable on hot summer evenings. The separated rooms also had the advantage of keeping heat from the kitchen out of the bedroom. Holl’s pamphlet examines several urban house types as well from the “shotgun” houses concentrated in New Orleans to the Rowhouse and Double House found in cities everywhere.

It is interesting to compare the urban and rural houses in the book. Seemingly, the urban houses are dictated by lot size/shape and not much else. Many of the urban house designs are formed with concerns to shared wall, lot lines and street facades. Conversely, rural houses seem more concerned with conservation of materials and response to climate.

The telescoping house seems most out of place of the group, but I think in provides an interesting way of thinking about houses. Many of these houses seem haphazardly put together at first glance, but upon closer inspection follow careful rules of proportion. Many telescoping houses were planned as a “starter home” and added onto later as needed. For any of us who are planning to make a home for two or three people the concept of an expandable home is important.