Selected by Open Call
Organized by Homeboat

The access to housing can make or break place. Affordability, gentrification, and expression of community converge on the spaces we call home — from flats to high-rise apartments or single-family cottages. The home is the smallest unit of measure for a community and its endangerment affects all of us. Architects create and execute the design of space, though the interpretation of this expectation varies greatly. Artists generate and nurture culture, though the complexity of narrative and curation can seem similarly out of reach. It is our job to fight for the social relevance of our collective trades through work that preserves our communities. We challenge our generation of creative collaborators to recognize the necessity for action in issues of housing security, quality, and affordability.

Homeboat believes that as citizens of this country and world, we share a social responsibility and a moral imperative to use our talents for a greater good. We recognize that “people and place matter,” a mantra of Samuel Mockbee’s Rural Studio influential design/build program. We seek to provide constructive answers and more thoughtful methods instead of allowing ‘trickle down’ market forces to approach this basic human right.

The house, rather the home, is what we’ll use as a way to discuss efforts to meet this urgent social responsibility head-on. We will use a recent housing project we built in Utah as an example of how we have tried to mediate this issue in our community. We believe that the housing stock of any place— a small town, a neighborhood, a city— is the most critical component of what makes a place. As socially-engaged practitioners at Common Field, we depend on the nuance of where we work and the affirmation from our community to carry us all forward. Active neighbors get things done on a block-by-block level; as architects and artists, we must be involved on the ground level of this construction.

FDR, in his State of the Union Address in 1944 and near the end of WWII, spoke of a second bill of rights. A document based on economic rights beyond the original political Bill of Rights. Rights to education, employment, medical care, food, and housing were proposed. Seventy years later, we as Americans are still not guaranteed a right to what is the basis of human existence: food, water, and shelter. These are three things we take for granted when they are plentiful but when eliminated, can force our lives and communities into a state of debilitating emergency.

Our presentation, with engagement from an audience, will focus on core issues of housing as we seek to define and address systemic problems across disciplines. The house as a unit of a community will be used to talk about our role as architects, designers, artists, and organizers to understand a place and culture, and to react responsibly to protect and nurture the rights of our neighbors.