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Making Room: Housing for a Changing America Exhibit Opens

The National Building Museum’s Making Room: Housing for a Changing America exhibit is now open and will run through Sept. 16 at the National Building Museum located in Washington, D.C.

Organized with the Citizens Housing & Planning Council and presented in partnership with Resource Furniture and Clei, Making Room showcases innovative design solutions for meeting the evolving 21st-century needs of American’s diverse households.

Shifts in both demographics and lifestyle have transformed the idea of the American household with approximately one-third of households today consisting of single adults living alone. Additionally, the number of those who live with roommates, or in extended family situations, is on the rise.

Making Room is a rally cry for a wider menu of housing options, showcasing how architects, policymakers, developers, planners and the general public can use design as an integral tool to meet housing needs.

Presented with Resource Furniture, a provider of multi-functional living systems, and Clei, manufacturer of smart, transformable furniture - the exhibition’s centerpiece is a one-of-a-kind, full-scale home that embodies these ideas.

Designed by Italian architect Pierluigi Colombo of Clei, this fully rendered 1,000-square-foot Open House is installed in the exhibition’s galleries for visitors to explore. Featuring a hyper-efficient layout, smart technologies, movable walls, and multifunctional furniture, the Open House demonstrates how a flexible space can meet the needs of a variety of today’s fastest-growing and underserved households.

“Households in the United States are changing, but housing supply and policy is not changing at the same pace,” said Chase W. Rynd, president and executive director of the National Building Museum.

Making Room offers the opportunity to explore innovative design solutions to meet evolving lifestyle needs in today’s society, both through case studies and with the full-scale Open House that we are constructing in our galleries,” continued Rynd.

To showcase how this space can adapt to seamlessly accommodate three entirely different living arrangements—roommates, an extended family, and a retired couple—the interior furnishings will be changed twice during the exhibition’s run. The roommates scenario will be displayed at the exhibition’s opening.

In addition to the Open House, the exhibition will highlight cutting-edge projects that architects, designers, and allied housing advocates are taking to expand housing options, including:

  • 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
  • The boom in cohousing communities

A full slate of educational programming will accompany the exhibition throughout its run, including panel discussions on how designers, developers, and policymakers across the country are addressing the changing housing needs of modern America.

The exhibition is supported by the American Society of Interior Designers Foundation, AARP Foundation, Anderson Corporation, Hufcor, the National Association of Realtors and others

For more information on educational programming visit go.nbm.org/makingroom.







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