21st Century Housing: Making Room in the Contemporary City

Georgia Tech School of Architecture

Fall 2013 & Spring 2014: Design + Research Studio

Professors: Godfried Augenbroe, Daniel Castro, Michael Gamble, Russell Gentry,

with Jeannie Kim & Stephen Taul

Fall and Spring Studio Supported by Grants from: Alcoa Foundation & Architecture for Humanity

with assistance from Southface Energy Institute  &  Resource Furniture  


Applied Research, Urban Site/Public Space, Housing Types + Programming,  Zero + Renewable Energy

Field trip: Manhattan & Brooklyn, City Housing Office, www.makingroomnyc.com, exemplary housing proposals, etc.

The Problem

To expand 21st century housing options to meet the needs of changing urban demographics, sustainability targets and alternative energy requirements, all through smartly researched and elegantly designed housing and public space solutions.

There are a number growing community based initiatives focused on understanding the new forces in play as urbanized areas like San Francisco and New York City work to address issues associated with the minimum standard for creating livable and affordable urban dwellings.  Similarly, as Sunbelt cities like Atlanta continue to experience a move away from satellite single family bedroom communities towards center city, mid and high-rise housing blocks, sustained focus on what constitutes a viable public and affordable private realm is needed.  


1 Year Goals

The housing study will traverse both fall and spring semesters. The series of seminars and studios will focus on the design and construction of medium-scaled ecologically-sensitive mixed residential/commercial developments.  Key to the course is the Incorporation of high-performance active and passive energy systems into very well-conceived and executed building and site design propositions. High Performance Building students will participate in the seminar and serve as consultants to the studio. The mantra for this course is “prove it” – all of the student's design decisions and building system selections must be justified through analysis, simulation, and calculations.

3 Year Goal

Our ultimate 3 year grand challenge is to fully design, engineer and student-build a 6-10 unit net zero energy housing complex on campus land, rented at market rate to students and civil servants, and performance monitored over a 5 year period.  


Spring Semester 2014

For the spring semester we will shift the focus of the studio from an urban and typological emphasis towards interiors and building envelop. 

Many of you have never participated in a studio with an immersive focus on interior design, and thus it is a very timely subject. We will concentrate on narrative construction, mood, layering, color theory, furniture, furnishing/fashion and surface all with the goal of developing highly detailed interior environments. I have some of the most talented interior designers in the city on line to work with the class. You will come out of the studio with a deeper understanding and appreciation of what makes great architecture. 

We will make a trip to NYC to learn by seeing and touching what makes great interior architecture, and visit some of the very best rooms the city has to offer – from the scale of hotel rooms and apartments all the way up to rooms that function at the monumental scale. I have a couple of NYC firms on line to share work. We will use the emerging work from this semester as a foundation for our Spring semester thinking, challenge some of the assumptions made thus far, invent new ones where needed, and refine each proposal by describing in detail various interior and exterior environments. The students this semester are in the midst of some very exciting proposals. We will describe every square inch of surface of key spaces through drawings and models. 

For the building envelop group, the work from this semester will serve as the foundation for advanced technical modeling, with direction from Jason Brown as well as myself. We will have 1 or 2 HPB students and most likely a DDF student working on facades, and architects are of course welcome. The collective work for the entire year will be exhibited in Los Angeles, and I am working on other exhibition outlets. 



Design Like You Give A Damn, San Francisco, November 2013

Museum of Design Atlanta, Revolution by Design, May-August, 2014

Dwell on Design, Los Angeles, June, 2014



The studio is very generously supported by a grant from the Alcoa Foundation and a gift from Resource Furniture, so materials and travel are paid for by the sponsors with assistance from the School. 


Course Bibliography (Additional Readings per Instructor)

Housing Typologies

Calthorpe, Peter. Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change. Washington D.C.: Island Press. 2011.

Heckman, Oliver and F. Schneider. Floor Plan Manual: Housing. Berlin: Birkhauser, 2011.

Green, Penelope. “Selling the Pared-Down Life.” The New York Times. 17 May 2012. 1,8.

Guzowski, Mary. Towards Zero Energy Architecture: New Solar Design. London: Laurence King Publishers, 2008.

Klinenberg, Eric. Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone. New York: Penguin Books. 2012.

Mitchell, Heidi. “Furniture Does Double Duty.” The Wall Street Journal. 7 March 2012. D1, D2.

Pelham F., George. “Efficiency Apartments.” Architectural Forum. September 1925. 147-152.

Sherwood, Roger.  Modern Housing Prototypes.

Taylor, C. Stanley. “Features Which Help to Rent Apartment Homes.” Architectural Forum. September 1925. 137-142.







Energy and Ecology

Dunster, Bill, From A to ZED, Realising Zero (fossil) Energy Developments. Bill Dunster architects ZEDfactory Ltd, 2003. 

Dunster, Bill; Simmons, Craig; Gilbert, Bobby, The ZED Book, Solutions for a Shrinking World. New York: Taylor and Francis.  2008.

Galloway, Terry, Solar House, A Guide for the Solar Designer. London: Elsevier, 2004.

Hastings, Robert; Wall, Maria, Sustainable Solar Housing, Strategies and Solutions. London, Earthscan. 2007.

Keeler, Marian and Burke, Bill, Fundamentals of Integrated Design for Sustainable Building, Wiley, 2009.

Kwok + Grondzik, The Green Studio Handbook – Environmental Strategies for Schematic Design. Oxford: Elsevier, Architectural Press, 2007)

Pearce, Annie, Yong, Han Ahn and Hanmi Global, Sustainable Buildings and Infrastructure: Paths to the Future, New York: Routledge. 2008.


Solar Dwelling Design Concepts (AIA Research Corporation and US Department of Housing, 2003).

Szokolay, Steven, 2004, Introduction to Architectural Science: The Basis of Sustainable Design, Elsevier Architectural Press.

Yannas, Simos, Solar Energy and Housing Design; Volume 1: Principles, Objectives, Guidelines. London : Architectural Association, 1994.

Yannas, Simos, Solar Energy and Housing Design; Volume 2: Examples



Brown, Azby. Just Enough: Lessons in Green from Traditional Japan.

Alexander, Frank. Life Together.

Klinenberg, Eric. Going Solo.


The Public Realm

de Certeau, Michel. "Introduction,"  The Practice of Everyday Life  Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.

Lefebvre, Henri.  extracts from “The Production of Space,”  Rethinking Architecture: A Reader in Cultural Theory,  pp. 139 – 147.

Habermas, Jurgen. Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Cambridge: MIT, 1994. 1-180.

Negt, Oskar and Alexander Kluge. "Introduction." + "Chapter One: The Public Sphere as the Organization of Collective Experience." Public Sphere and Experience: Toward an Analysis of the Bourgeois and Proletarian Public Sphere. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 1993. xliii-xlix. 1-53. 

Lefort, Claude. "The Question of Democracy." + "Human Rights and the Welfare State." Democracy and Political Theory. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. 1998. 9-44.

Deutsch, Rosalyn. "Agoraphobia." Evictions: Art and Spatial Politics. Cambridge MA: MIT Press. 1998. 267-327.

Lyotard, Jean-Francois, "Domus and Megalopolis, " Rethinking Architecture,

pp. 271-279.