Advancing Housing for Health and Wellbeing
Inspiring Design: Creating Beautiful, Just, and Resilient Places in America

Hosted in partnership with the Northeastern University School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and the Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy as a part of its 2021 Spring Myra Kraft Open Classroom, Inspiring Design: Creating Beautiful, Just, and Resilient Places in America explores the role of design in cities.

The series is presented in partnership with the Association of Architecture Organizations, Association of Collegiate Schools of ArchitectureBoston Society for Architecture, and the Boston Society of Landscape Architects.

How can design and designers promote health equity? Karen Kubey, an urbanist specializing in housing and health and editor of Housing as Intervention: Architecture towards Social Equity shared her observations and experience co-organizing the international design competition that resulted in Via Verde—the Green Way (2013 RBA Silver Medalist), a new model for healthy and sustainable affordable housing in The Bronx. Brian Phillips, principal of Interface Studio Architects, discussed the firm’s approach to designing modern, green, and affordable homes that nurture residents’ sense of wellbeing including the $100K Houses. They were joined by Wandy Pascoal, Housing Innovation Design Fellow with the Boston Society of Architects and the Boston Mayor’s HousingInnovation Lab, who discussed the city’s efforts to use design to drive the creation of more affordable housing solutions.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand and describe how investment in healthy and sustainable affordable housing can address community welfare and affect economic, environmental, and social change.
  • Discuss the value of engaging in collaborative partnerships in the planning, design, and development of affordable housing.
  • Identify and describe practical approaches to designing healthy and sustainable affordable housing.
  • Discuss how architects, nonprofits, the public sector, and communities can advance innovative housing design in cities.

This session was recorded on Wednesday, February 17th, 2021 as part of Northeastern University’s Myra Kraft Open Classroom 2021 Spring series. ASLA and APA continuing education credits are available thanks to partnerships with Boston Society of Landscape Architects and the American Planning Association, Ohio Chapter.

Karen Kubey, Visiting Associate Professor, Pratt Institute
Karen Kubey is an urbanist specializing in housing and health. She is the editor of Housing as Intervention: Architecture towards Social Equity (Architectural Design, 2018) and served as the first executive director of the Institute for Public Architecture. Kubey co-founded the New York chapter of Architecture for Humanity (now Open Architecture/New York) and co-founded and led the New Housing New York design competition. Holding degrees in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley and the Columbia University Graduate School for Architecture, Preservation and Planning (GSAPP), Kubey began her career as a designer of below-market housing. She has received support from the New York State Council on the Arts and MacDowell. Currently a Visiting Associate Professor at Pratt Institute, she was a 2019-20 Faculty Fellow in Design for Spatial Justice at the University of Oregon.

Brian Phillips, Founding Principal, Interface Studio Architects
Brian is founding Principal of ISA, and serves as Creative Director across the design and research efforts of the firm. He was awarded a 2011 Pew Fellowship in the Arts, and was named an Emerging Voice by the Architectural League of New York in 2015. ISA’s work has been featured in ARCHITECT, Architectural Record, DWELL, Metropolis, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times, and on NPR Radio. The office has won over fifty local, regional, and national design citations, including the Philadelphia AIA Silver and Gold Medals, the AIA COTE Top 10, and 5 AIA National HousingAwards. Brian earned his Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania where he is currently a Lecturer and teaches a graduate urban housing design studio.

Wandy Pascoal, Housing Innovation Design Fellow, Boston Society of Architects and the Boston Mayor’s HousingInnovation Lab
Wandy Pascoal is a Housing Innovation Design Fellow with both the Boston Society for Architecture and Boston’s HousingInnovation Lab. Trained as an architect and a native of Angola, she is interested in the ways in which housing and policy intersect, bringing these interests into her current fellowship role. In her work, Wandy strives to center the many voices of Boston’s residents and their complex experiences, as these must ultimately drive the design and implementation of current and future housing models in the city.

Anne-Marie Lubenau (moderator), FAIA, is the director of the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence at the Bruner Foundation in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An architect, educator and writer, she is an advocate for engaging people in the design of the built environment and increasing awareness of its impact on our lives. She contributes regularly to national and international publications and forums on design and urban development and is a member of the Boston Civic Design Commission, Harvard GSD Alumni Council, and the Association of Architecture Organization’s board of directors. She holds a BArch from Carnegie Mellon and was a 2012 Harvard Loeb Fellow.

Ted Landsmark (facilitator) is a Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs; Director, Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University. Ted is an architect, attorney, academic, and civil rights activist who serves as one of five members of the Boston Planning and Development Agency.




Via Verde—the Green Way Case Study (2013 RBA Silver Medalist)

Via Verde, Location: Bronx NY, Architect: Dattner Architects and Grimshaw Architects
  • Via Verde—the “Green Way” is a 222-unit affordable, sustainable, and replicable low-income housing development in the South Bronx, New York. The project, completed in 2012, grew out of two international design competitions that were part of the New Housing New York Legacy Project to create a new standard for affordable, green housing design. For more information about Via Verde—the Green Way check out the Rudy Bruner Award case study to learn about the project’s urban context and history, leadership and vision, collaborative partnerships, design and development, financing, operations and programming, and impact.

Housing as Intervention: Architecture Towards Social Equity

Housing as Intervention. Courtesy of Karen Kubey.
  • Housing as Intervention: Architecture Towards Social Equity is a 17-essay volume of Architectural Design (AD), guest edited by Karen Kubey, that examines how housing projects around the world, and the design processes behind them, might be interventions toward greater social equity. New York City’s Active Design Guidelines are central to the topic of housing and offer strategies based on the latest academic research and best practices in the field for creating healthier buildings, streets, and urban spaces.

100K Houses – Interface Studio Architects

Courtesy of Interface Studio Architects
  • 100K Houses were conceived in response to the unsustainable and dated approach to American developer housing that values size above all else. Interface Studio Architects worked in close collaboration with developer Postgreen Homes to prototype a 1000 SF, efficient, super-green house model for construction at $100 per square foot. Seven homes have been built to-date, providing sustainable, affordable options for first-time Philadelphia homebuyers.

Rowhouse Workshop – Interface Studio Architects

Courtesy of Interface Studio Architects
  • Rowhouse Workshop– an exhibition curated by ISA Principal Brian Phillips is an interactive exhibition at Cherry St Pier showcasing the unique personalities of four rowhouse blocks in North, South, and West Philadelphia. ISA hosted community block dinners, documenting the neighborhoods and histories of Philadelphia’s urban fabric. The exhibition leads vistors through a series of rowhouse block installations, sharing collectively curated songs, recipes, photos, and videos. Project participants attended the opening event as guest artists, and visitors contributed to the project through their own self-directed participation in the exhibition’s large scale sticker wall and workbooks.

XS House – Interface Studio Architects

Courtesy of Interface Studio Architects
  • XS House was created in response to Philadelphia’s urban renewal era. It left behind an east-west cut through the city’s urban fabric in the form of the sunken Vine Street Expressway. The highway construction sliced through the city’s Chinatown neighborhood, creating many small lots that are difficult to occupy and currently underutilized as surface parking. XS House places seven apartments on one such leftover site. Its extremely narrow 11-foot-wide by 93-foot-long parcel is strategically expanded through bays, mezzanines, and bi-level upper units. XS House adds urban density and street life while encouraging walkable lifestyles.

Urban Housing Unit (UHU)Housing Innovation Lab

Boston Urban Housing Prototype (UHU). Courtesy of Wandy Pascoal.
  • Through the Urban Housing Unit (UHU) interactive exhibit, the Housing Innovation Lab heard from the community about what they think about smaller living. The Urban Housing Unit – a compact apartment on wheels traveled from downtown Boston to Roslindale, Mattapan, Dorchester, Roxbury, and East Boston. The 385 square-foot, one-bedroom unit was modular and fully furnished. Learn more about the results and lessons learned of compact living on the Urban Housing Unit webpage.
Illustration of 2020 virtual workshop titled Distributing Density: Middle-Scale Housing for Sustainable Communities. Courtesy of Wandy Pascoal.
  • The BSA and Housing iLab released an article to summarize the outcomes of the 3rd Housing Innovation Workshop. They invited participants, in addition to exploring new ideas and approaches in addressing Boston’s housing needs, more intentionally evaluate housing policy’s role in perpetuating systemic racism and explore what our collective role is in dismantling this system.
  • BSA and Housing iLab launched the Future-Decker exhibition, a part of their ongoing exploration and documentation of the ways in which existing triple-deckers have shaped the city of Boston, while inviting residents and others to envision the future of this iconic building type. In addition to the exhibition, we hosted the Future-DeckerConversation Series, where speakers and participants will build upon the architectural, economic, and ultimately social value of triple and future-deckers in the city of Boston and the region.