Homed by Framlab | Modular housing units for homeless people in NYC
design: Framlab design agency
Framlab, Homed, exterior view (Mural artwork by Viktor Miller-Gausa). Image courtesy of Framlab.
Homed by Framlab | Modular housing units for homeless people in New York City
Notoriously, in New York City the most valuable resource is land. Vacant lots are scarce and expensive, and apartment rental rates are skyrocketing. The consequence is that many can’t afford the rental rates of an apartment; it is estimated that 62,000 people seek refuge in homeless shelters every night and thousands others on the street, in the subway, and in other public spaces.
Based in Oslo and New York, design agency Framlab has developed a project, named Homed, aimed to give a solution to the problems of thousands of homeless people living in the city. Homed originates from the idea that the very same verticality of New York’s buildings can provide a new “operating space” in the form of the blank sidewalls of buildings that emerge and disappear as new developments come and go, thus providing hundreds of acres of available “land”.
In Framlab’s proposal, architecture recovers its sense of purpose, providing a creative solution to real issues by the means of an experimental project.
The idea is to capitalize vertical lots in NYC by combining a lightweight “scaffolding-like” load-bearing structure, fastened to the blank external walls of existing buildings, with prefabricated and modular housing units.
A fascinating design which fits into the definition of “parasite architecture”, namely an architecture that “occupies” a building, often abandoned or underused, remaining a separate entity yet establishing a functional relationship with it.
Pursuing the idea of a city that regenerates itself and applying the concept of resilience to the urban environment, this research continues in the same vein of other projects, mostly developed in Europe, such as Las Palmas parasite by Korteknie & Stuhlmacher, which temporary occupied the roof terrace of a disused store in Rotterdam in 2001, or “School parasite” designed in Hoogvliet by Dutch agency ONIX in 2004, which added to an existing school building three temporary pavilions accommodating spaces and services the school was lacking.
Framlab, Homed, exterior views. Images courtesy of Framlab.
The housing units of Homed – shaped as hexagonal prismatic cells – are designed to connect to the load bearing scaffold structure, and arranged in a honeycomb-like configuration to create an additional, active layer on the blank wall of a building. This way, the units form clusters of micro-neighborhoods of shelters for the city’s least fortunate.
The single unit is designed to provide year-round housing that can withstand harsh, cold weather and provide a cool space during summer.
While the exterior is composed of oxidized aluminum cladding, the interior offers a soft and friendly environment. The 3D printed modules allow furniture, storage, lighting and appliances to be integrated into the structure – resulting in a minimal space, tailored to the specific needs and
desires of its resident – overlooking the urban landscape outside.
Framlab, the housing units of Homed: interior views.
Founded by Norwegian designer Andreas Tjeldflaat, Framlab is an Oslo and New York City based creative agency aimed to explore the intersection of product design and architecture.
All images by Framlab. All rights reserved.