With a global affordable housing crisis, communities across the world are looking at ways to combat the issue. Pinnacle is currently in design or construction of nearly 400 affordable homes across Oregon. Our goal is to provide quality, efficient, comfortable, and easy to maintain homes for the residents and our clients. We’re always looking for ways to improve our designs. Part of that is thinking outside the box and exploring what’s happening in the world. I recently read, What is affordable housing? Emerging Ideas in Architecture & Design, produced by Archhive Books, a UK based company. It includes case studies, interviews, and results from numerous design competitions focused on solutions to affordable housing. There are some many interesting, creative, and mind-altering ideas. Here are just a few.

Equity Crowd-funding for Socially Responsible Projects

Rabble, created a crowdfunding investment platform for private investors from all income levels to invest in raising capital for socially or environmentally impactful projects. Their first investment was the revitalization of 32 homes in a blighted midtown Detroit neighborhood. Their investors aren’t looking for significant returns; they see 10% at best; they are looking to make an impact. Rabble is pushing innovation with unique funding projects like a 10-acre, 3D ocean farm on the coast of Maine, which will produce profitable seaweed and shellfish products that enhance ocean ecosystems. Rabble is just one of many crowdfunding platforms since the Title III of the JOBS Act went into effect in May of 2016. The Act makes it legal for anyone to invest in a private company. What I like about this is it’s allowing everyone to be part of the financial solution.

3-D Printed Houses

New Story Charity, a non-profit based in San Francisco, is using 3D technology to build its first 3-D printed community. Using ICON’s Vulcan printer, they will complete the project this summer in an undisclosed location in Latin America. See the design.

The Vulcan printer has already completed a permitted 3-D printed home in Austin, Texas. The Chicon House was built in less than 48 hours!

24-Hour Buildings

Sophie Beagles challenged the idea of space when thinking about affordable housing. Instead of looking for land, expanding urban growth boundaries, or making cities denser we could be looking at our existing space. When at work and school many of our living spaces are vacant and vis versa. Can a school’s playground double as backyards for homes? Can corporate office breakrooms transform into dining and living rooms for a co-living facility? This idea challenges our social norms!

Transient Housing Movement

In Hong Kong, who is ranked one of the least affordable cities in the world, there is an effort to build more public housing as fast as possible. Transient or temporary housing is being located on vacant plots, while permanent housing is planned and developed. James Law, a Hong-Kong based architect, designed the OPod Tube House. It’s an experimental, low cost, micro-living home made from an 8.2-foot diameter concrete water pipe. With 100 SF of living space, it includes the basics of a studio apartment – living, cooking, and bathroom space. They can be stacked and relocated. The Hong Kong government provided a piece of land for an OPod trial run. Check out the prototype.

Guardians of Vacant Property

The UK has more than 600,000 buildings classified as vacant. Vacant buildings are prone to vandalism and squatting. The practice of property guardianship in the UK emerged in the late 1990s. People are granted accommodation within a property which is typically vacant in exchange for keeping the property under observation and in good condition. Tim Lowe, the owner of Lowe Guardians, is taking the idea one step further. To fill a housing affordability gap for young professionals and provide property owners with onsite security and management. The SHED project is a pop-up bedroom that can be constructed in a day and placed in a vacant warehouse-type building. Its sustainability designed (made of strand board, lamb’s wool insulation, and recycled polyester) and can be constructed and deconstructed many times over.

Peter Baer, President, Pinnacle Architecture Peter is the principal architect and founder of Pinnacle Architecture. Founded in 1990 he has built the firm on the foundation of a strong commitment to constant improvement and client satisfaction. His portfolio of work is vast and varied, and the theme of enhancing lives and communities is a constant. Peter believes success begins with a commitment to others and he places high importance on company culture and helping team members reach their full potential. His body of work includes health care, public use, higher education, senior living, commercial, multi-family housing, and more. Interested in talking more about affordable housing ideas? Contact Peter at Peter@Parch.biz