Buildner is pleased to present the results to the Las Vegas Affordable Housing Challenge!
This competition is part of Buildner’s Affordable Housing series, in partnership with ARCHHIVE BOOKS, showcasing projects that invent new means for driving down housing prices. Designers were tasked with proposing a flexible, innovative, pilot-phase concept for affordable housing within Greater Las Vegas.
Buildner’s Affordable Housing design series posits that there is no one right answer to making housing affordable. Today, a host of new ideas and platforms are enabling people to own or purchase homes. These creative methods include everything from community co-living facilities, to 3D-printed homes, stackable modular homes, new zoning policies and new forms of transit-oriented development.
In 2017, Las Vegas was revealed to be the least affordable city in the USA for renters, with the biggest shortage of affordable and available rental homes according to figures from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. It was found that Las Vegas only had 12 affordable rental units available for every 100 households classified as “extremely low income.” This situation is untenable.
This competition tasked participants with proposing design-related solutions to the city’s housing crisis. They were encouraged to submit flexible solutions to accommodate a range of unit sizes including families, single professionals, and couples. There was no set competition site or scale, and participants were encouraged to be as creative as possible. The jury sought projects that challenge typical ideas of housing, design, and the community at large, while at the same time maintaining a practical element that could potentially see these designs realized.
Buildner collaborated with a regional and international interdisciplinary jury panel: Craig Galati is a Principal of Las Vegas*based architecture firm LGA and has received honors including the AIA “Nevada Service Award,” and the American Planning Association “DeBoer Excellence in Planning Award” for his outstanding service on the City of Las Vegas Planning Commission; Avi Friedman is a professor of architecture at McGill University Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture and president of Avi Friedman Consultants, a design firm with a focus on affordable and sustainable residential environments; Persis Lam is an associate at Toronto-based Diamond Schmitt Architects as well as executive member of Building Equality in Architecture Toronto (BEAT); Dr. Steffen Lehmann is a tenured full Professor of Architecture and former Executive Director of schools of architecture, including the UNLV School of Architecture in Las Vegas; Christina Lennox is the Cofounder and Chief Product Officer of Brownstone, a shared housing company which makes sleeping pods that transform existing homes into affordable shared living arrangements; Maya Mahgoub-Desai is the Chair of Environmental Design at OCAD University and a practicing Urban Designer and Planner with Moriyama Teshima Architects whose research focuses on public health; Fotini Pitoglou is a licensed architect in Ontario, Canada, the UK and Greece and a lead architect on hospitality projects at Toronto-based FORREC as well as an executive member of Building Equality in Architecture Toronto; Caitlin J. Saladino serves as the Director of Strategic Development at The Lincy Institute and Brookings Mountain West, a public policy think tank focused on improving health, education, economic development, governance, non-profits, and social services in Nevada; and Andreas Tjeldflaat, who is the founder of Framlab, a New York and Bergen-based design studio.
Buildner and its jury panel thank all individuals and teams that submitted proposals.
Jury feedback summary
(still) Learning From Las Vegas seeks to counteract current urban models in which large distribution infrastructure utilizes prime real estate within the city’s urban center. It does so by building upon the existing warehouses that proliferate around Las Vegas. The submission’s key proposal is to increase the floor area ratio of underutilized sites as a means to generate density while keeping the existing commercial entities, which fuel the economy, intact. What results is a new residential ‘datum’ that serves as a catalyst for housing that is more affordable. Each massing consists of modular housing units which adapt to the footprint of a site’s existing infrastructure. Perforated facade shelter occupants from the strong sun while providing an advertising surface for companies below.