In March 2021, the Biden Administration released the American Jobs Plan, earmarking $213B for “quality” and “affordable” housing, yet the bill lacks specificity on how houses are to be built. Here housing’s problem is split into two: a social one of accessibility and equity, and a material one of wood, metal, and rocks. Architects can play a unique role in bridging abstract policy ambitions to real construction as these connections are made every day in practice.
Although accessible housing has been cast in many forms, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) have been a catalyst for including architects in direct policy development. For the first time, cities are directly contracting with architects to provide designs for private property through pre-approved ADU programs. These programs reflect a plurality of ideas, though without rigorous consideration for how the costs of site work, labor, materials, and energy make quality housing sustainable.
Small Infrastructures is an exhibition of ADU designs that uses the economics of building assembly as the groundwork for experimentation. Ten architects teaching at Harvard GSD and Berkeley CED consider the overlaps between academia, where cost is often external to conceptual work, and practice, where budgeting is an integral task.
Curated by Michelle Chang and Rudabeh Pakravan
- Lyndon Neri, MArch ’92, and Rossana Hu are Founding Partners of Neri&Hu Design and Research Office and previously held the position of John C. Portman Design Critics at the GSD.
- Lisa Iwamoto, MArch ’93, is a Professor of Architecture at UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design (CED) and the Doris and Clarence Malo Collegium Teaching Chair in Design. She is also a principal at IwamotoScott Architecture.
- Sean Canty, MArch ’14, is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Harvard GSD and the founder of Studio Sean Canty (SSC).
- Andrew Atwood, MArch ’07, is an Associate Professor of Architecture at UC Berkeley and a partner in the architecture firm, First Office.
- Yasmin Vobis is co-founder of Ultramoderne and an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Harvard GSD.
- Mark Anderson, MArch ’86, is a Professor of Architecture and a partner in the firm Anderson Anderson Architecture.
- Neyran Turan, DDes ’09, is an Associate Professor of Architecture at UC Berkeley CED and a founding partner at NEMESTUDIO.
- Michelle Chang, MArch ’09, is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Harvard GSD and the director of JaJa Co.
- Rudabeh Pakravan is a Continuing Lecturer at UC Berkeley CED and a principal at Sidell Pakravan Architects.