Portfolio Project Detail

[P]LACE [O]F [D]IVERSITY PODS Katie Coffey, Amanda Ko, and Juliette Zidek

The co-living housing model spreading in cities across the United States (and world) provides affordable living accommodations in prohibitively expensive urban areas by increasing the density of living units and facilitating a shared economy of communal space amongst inhabitants. This popularized model of co-living falls short of providing an inclusive system of affordable housing, however, in its focus on one target demographic: young, single millennials. Our proposal looks at expanding the trending model of co-living to include opportunities for families, older adults, and at-risk populations to participate in the group living paradigm. By examining and designing for the various functional needs of each outlined demographic group, we hope to create a truly inclusive, multi-generational, Place Of Diversity that cultivates communal well-being and economic equality through a new co-living model.

How can one building provide a variety of living configurations in an affordable way? Our solution manifests in the design of modular pods—structurally identical but adaptable in various timelines and scales, over the course of one day and through the passing of years. Convertible furniture and casework allow living spaces to be reconfigured for maximum spatial utility, while flexible partitions allow whole modules to remodel incrementally, with the needs of its inhabitants. The aggregation of these pods in the Place of Diversity, sited in Denver, CO, form a multi-generational, socially diverse community with the ability to change and grow with the people it houses.

According to the U.S. census bureau, rental rates in Denver have increased over 74% in the last ten years, but there is a drastic shortage in affordable rental units. Over 35 percent of households are cost-burdened, with 16 percent being “severely” cost-burdened (paying over 50% of their income on housing.) Denver faces a complex set of housing issues that it has pledged to address by promoting inclusive communities and strengthening land use regulations for mixed income housing. The co-living model of POD fits into the narrative of Denver’s proposed solution, as it expands inclusivity within an existing typology of housing, by reevaluating how co-living models can support a diverse mix of residents by varying unit density/mix to provide a range of affordable housing options within a singular building module.

Our co-living model addresses affordability by proposing a modular, high-rise co-living tower. The pod module geometry was conceived to maximize daylighting and views for the inhabitants, while also minimizing circulation space, thereby increasing spatial efficiency. These planning strategies increase density per floorplate with enhanced living conditions. Each pod is also structurally identical and intended to be prefabricated during construction.

Both the pod design and design of the POD community employ sustainable strategies, such as reduction in potable water use, rainwater harvesting, solar capture, passive heating strategies, and the use of reduced carbon concrete in the structural design of each pod and superstructure. Additionally, all materials specified are intended to be precautionary list free.