IN INNOVATIVE HOUSING AT THE NATIONAL BUILDING MUSEUM
401 F St NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
This fall, Italian design will play a starring role in a groundbreaking exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. Organized by the museum and the Citizens Housing & Planning Council, Making Room: Housing for a Changing America focuses on innovative solutions designed to meet the growing needs of America’s diverse households. Dovetailing with this mission, Ceramics of Italy is a proud sponsor along with in-kind support from Italian tile producers.
With unprecedented shifts in demographics and lifestyles over the past few decades, American households have undergone a transformation. More adults than ever are living alone, multigenerational households are on the rise, and affordable housing is in crisis. Technology, the desire for smart density and environmental sustainability, and demands for healthy living all cry out for 21-century solutions yet housing solutions have not kept pace.
Making Room examines the groundswell of developers, architects, interior designers, allied with housing advocates, policy makers and activists who are proposing exciting, flexible answers for these evolving needs. Replete with surprising architectural and design improvements, the exhibition illuminates cutting-edge approaches such as micro apartments in New York City, shared housing experiments in the D.C. area, backyard accessory cottages in Seattle, tiny houses that are helping the formerly homeless in Austin, and the boom in cohousing communities nationwide, among other advances. Models, plans, and images showcase some of these alternative options and their effects on the housing market in those communities.
The exhibition’s centerpiece, The Open House, is a full-scale, flexible dwelling, which further illustrates how a small space can be adapted to meet many needs. Designed by Italian architect Pierluigi Colombo, it comprises two distinct living spaces that could be used independently or combined to form a larger residence. On its own, the smallest space could be configured as a micro apartment. To highlight how the same space can accommodate three entirely different living arrangements – roommates, an extended family, and a retired couple – the interior furnishings will be swapped out twice during the exhibition’s seven-month run.
Mirroring the spaces’ modern yet tactile design, several textured ceramic tile collections from Ceramica Vogue and Cir will adorn the walls while porcelain tiles inspired by different materials such wood, anthracite and terracotta-cement from Ergon, Tagina and Caesar, respectively, will be set on a raised flooring system. Bringing it all together, Mapei will supply grout and mortar for the exhibit.
Making Room will open to the public on November 18, 2017 and run through September 2018.