Architecture students at the Gensler Family AAP NYC Center this fall confronted a common need and collective concern among themselves and countless others in the New York City Metro Area — housing. By most estimates, New York City will need an additional 500K units by 2030 to adequately meet growing housing needs. A recent study found that over half the population cannot afford rent. Currently, 1 in 17 New Yorkers rely on affordable housing provided by the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA), one of the largest landowners in the city and the largest housing authority in North America. NYCHA's holdings, history, and mission made them an ideal "conceptual client" for such a critical topic for so many — from city dwellers to city planners, policymakers, and, of course, architects, students, and design educators.
For this fall's studio, Housing Futures NYC, Dana Getman and Steven Garcia joined the AAP NYC visiting faculty from New York City-based SHoP Architects, a firm known for collaborative, forward-thinking local and international projects designed and executed with cutting-edge digital technology. With a focus on leveraging this advanced technology for the greater good — meaning a strong emphasis on cultural, economic, and environmental sustainability — Getman and Garcia presented students with a brief around an affordable housing site they see as falling between challenge and opportunity.
"Architects and designers, especially now as we have new tools and technologies that simulate possible futures with data and in real-time, are in a unique, low-risk, low-resistance position to respond to critical human issues with information and imagination," said Getman and Garcia. "Our goal is to support and inspire the next generation of architects as they root creative, feasible, affordable housing solutions in experience, and ultimately enhance the well-being of residents and transform cities."