Homes in the future will contain many new and complex activities, becoming
centers for work, commerce, learning, proactive health care, distributed
energy production, etc.. The baby boomer and GenX population are demanding
choice and tailored solutions in all products they buy, including homes.
The combination of societal and market forces will require new ways of
designing, building, and integrating technologies into places of living.
The housing industry, however, is poorly prepared for this future, creating
mostly generic low-grade, inflexible, disruptive-to-upgrade, and high-maintenance
products. Few are tailored to the unique and changing needs of its occupants.
The industry lacks a process that will lead to the customization of homes
that respond to the unique values and needs of occupants, and architects/engineers
play no significant role in the creation of most places of living. To
address these problems, I propose that a new model for design and construction
that places the consumer in the center of the design process. In this
model, developers become integrators offering a process for customization;
architects create design engines and computational critics rather than
a single design; industry provides tailored product and service information
directly to the consumer at the point of decision; and fabricators receive
data to manufacture customized cabinetry-like components for just-in-
time delivery and assembly. To demonstrate and test the viability of this
approach, I have built a participative design platform for non-experts
that could be used by consumers to drive informed customization of their
home. Central to this process is an interface that allows consumers to
access sophisticated design tools without requiring them to think like
an expert designer - providing the information and visualization needed
to make informed decisions about adjacencies, form, materials, appliances,
etc.. This approach could be extended to include the configuration of
customized technologies and services. If adopted by industry, such a strategy
could create powerful incentives for innovation.
In the future, homes will contain the most complex activities of any building
type. The home is increasingly becoming a center for work, commerce, and
learning. With the pending crisis in health care, homes must become proactive
environments for keeping people healthy and autonomous. In addition, the
baby boomer and GenX population are demanding choice and tailored solutions
in all products they buy, including their place of living .
Despite this convergence of market and societal pressures, the housing
industry creates homes that are mostly generic low-grade, inflexible,
disruptive to upgrade, high maintenance. Few are tailored to the unique
and changing needs of its occupants, and architects/engineers play no
significant role in the creation of most places of living. Few new homes
can properly accommodate increasingly complex activities and work patterns,
adapt over time as family, financial and health conditions change, and
accept rapidly evolving technologies and services developed by innovative
companies. Current approaches to housing fail to meet the challenges of
the future. The housing industry is highly fragmented, dependent on increasingly
scarce skilled labor, and only competitive locally. There are few of the
incentives for innovation found in most other industries [8,9].
The industry lacks a process for tailoring the physical space, technologies,
and services to respond to the unique values and needs of the resident.
Four perspectives on the problem:
Problems in the housing industry are best illustrated by viewing this
from four perspectives: consumer, developer, manufacturer, and designer.
This work presents a new process for residential design centered on the
individual - not the expert. In this model, developers become integrators
offering a process for customization; architects create design engines
and computational critics rather than a single design; industry provides
tailored product and service information directly to the consumer at the
point of decision; and fabricators receive data to manufacture customized
cabinetry-like components for just-in-time delivery and assembly. To test
and evaluate this work, a novel solution to object recognition and tracking
has been developed. Qualitative feedback from a variety of professions
indicated that this work addresses generally recognized problems in the
industry, and proposed plausible, if schematic, solutions that should
be further developed and evaluated.
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