Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has unveiled SCADpad, a unique micro-housing and adaptive reuse experiment that transformed the parking structure of its midtown Atlanta location into a sustainable community.
The project presents an entirely new vision of urban community and suggests a solution to the world’s growing urban housing challenges. According the UN Report: “World Population to 2300, the global urban population is expected to rise to approximately 5 billion. The U.S. Census 2012 founded the 81% of the U.S. population resides in urban areas — a 6 percent increase over the last 25 years.
“SCAD is a global university, so we see firsthand the urban density issues that the world’s most populous cities face,” said Paula Wallace, president and co-founder of SCAD. SCADpad focuses the ideas of students and the expertise of faculty and alumni in disciplines ranging from urban design, adaptive reuse, and architecture to interior design, service design, interaction design, design for sustainability and fine art.
The urban micro-housing community projects relevance beyond form and function to the Vitruvian principles of utility, strength, and delight, says Wallace: “SCADpad creates an environment for inventive and artful living.”
SCADpad was designed and developed by an interdisciplinary SCAD team of 75 current students, 37 alumni and 12 SCAD professors from 12 academic degree programs.
The experimental community also features:
A workstation built by SCAD furniture design students. It features a hands-free intuitive 3D printer interface that allows any SCADpad resident to issue a print command to create wall attachments without pressing a single button.
A community garden watered with filtered greywater from one of the SCADpad units. It is fed by a fiber optic sun harvesting system and high-efficiency composting systems.
A waste management center for recycling, composting and trash disposal. Dubbed NuBox, the system is constructed of reclaimed wood. It teaches residents to view traditional waste management as nutrient management.
A park featuring custom-designed furniture from SCAD students that helps to transform the uninhabitable parking deck into a livable space inspired by nature.
Why parking structures?
SCAD believes parking structures represent an untapped opportunity for adaptive reuse,
“Parking structures are a unique and very recent building type,” said Christian Sottile, Dean of the School of Building Arts, SCAD. “It’s not a structure that cities, architects and designers have examined as opportunities for urban living.”
According the to the 2012 U.S. Census, there are 105 million parking spaces in the U.S. – or five spaces for every car. According the Urban Land Institute, the approximately 40,000 parking structures in the U.S. operate at half capacity.
“Parking structures are cold, uninhabitable spaces built for cars, not humans,” said Sottile. “At SCAD, we see many of these 20th century structures as a huge adaptive reuse and historic preservation opportunity to bring art and design together to delight the user and sustainably evolve these buildings already in place.”
About the SCADpad units
Each of the three fully functional, fully furnished 135-square-foot SCADpad units fit within a standard parking space. The SCADpads showcase custom art installations from SCAD alumni on the interior and exterior of the microhomes. The design themes were inspired by SCAD locations in Asia, Europe and North America.
SCADpad Asia: Intended to reflect the culture and aesthetic of SCAD’s Hong Kong location, SCADpad Asia features a striking physical exterior designed by SCAD painting alumnus Will Penny. Inside the unit, the walls are lined with geometric wallpaper overlaying a soundboard, also called human conductive wallpaper.
SCADpad Europe: The art in this unit was inspired by the medieval landscape and history of SCAD Lacoste. Designed by SCAD fibers alumna Trish Andersen, the exterior of the SCADpad features tonal blue lacquered wood panels resembling travertine tiles, and scalloped copper tiles that border the roof. The inside of SCADpad Europe is adorned with interactive fiber walls woven from 40,000 pieces of fabric. Maximizing the small space, this SCADpad includes a fold- up hammock bed that accommodates a desk underneath.
SCADpad North America: Reflecting the American spirit of self-determination, SCADpad North America has a minimalist paint treatment on the exterior. The interior includes two felted gray walls made by SCAD students and other surfaces featuring tiny leather strips affixed in a Navajo pattern and rendered in a classic, American palette. This installation was created by Marcus Kenney, a SCAD photography alumnus.
“The development of SCADpad was more than a classroom learning experience for our students,” said Wallace. “After decades of success as a relevant university preparing students for creative careers, we’ve learned to build bridges from collegiate inquiry to real-life solutions. These 75 SCAD students and 37 alumni joined together to make SCADpad a reality. SCADpad is a testament to the power of innovation, intellectual prowess, research and collaboration.”
SCAD: The University for Creative Careers
The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution that prepares talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers degrees in more than 40 majors.