Coming Soon! Making Room: Housing for a Changing America

Opening soon at the National Building Museum, presented in partnership with Citizens Housing and Planning Council, Resource Furniture and Clei
Washington, D.C.

It’s no secret that shifts in lifestyles and demographics have changed American households. But has our housing supply kept up? Quite simply: no. The desire for sustainability and a better use of space demand a better solution. As the National Building Museum points out:

  • Almost 30% of American households consist of adults living alone, a growing phenomenon across all ages and incomes.
  • More and more, adults have to pool resources and share dwellings just to find suitable living conditions.
  • We face a crisis in affordable housing, placing an unprecedented burden on low-income families. More than one in four renter households (11.4 million) spend more than 50% of their income on rent.
  • Multigenerational households are on the rise. Young adults are staying home longer or moving back in with their parents. Adults are opening their homes to their aging baby boomer parents and immigrants often prefer to live in larger, multi-generational households.
  • 87% of adults aged 65 and older want to stay in their current home and community as they age. Yet housing is often poorly adapted to changing needs, resulting in poor health outcomes for our seniors.

Good news! A strong push to propose exciting, flexible answers for these evolving lifestyle needs from developers, architects, and interior designers, allied with housing advocates, policy makers, and activists. Introducing Making Room: Housing for a Changing America.

The exhibition’s centerpiece, a full-scale, flexible dwelling called The Open House is presented in partnership with Resource Furniture, Clei, and architect Pierluigi Colombo. It illustrates how a small space can be adapted to meet many needs. It will comprise 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. Twice while the exhibition is open at the National Building Museum, the dwellings will be refreshed multiple times to reflect three different housing scenarios: roommates, an extended family, and a retired couple.

To learn more, visit https://www.nbm.org/exhibition/making-room/