Design Students Convert Urban Parking Garage Into Micro-Homes

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.

SCAD alumna and featured artist Trish Andersen sitting on the fold-up hammock bed, which accommodates the desk underneath, in SCADpad Europe. The fold-up hammock bed was designed and constructed by Trish and fellow SCAD graduate Kristi Jilson
SCAD alumna and featured artist Trish Andersen sits on the fold-up hammock bed that accommodates the desk underneath, in SCADpad Europe.

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.

Inside SCADpad Asia, a geometic wallpaper adorns the walls, which was painted by BFA and MFA painting graduate Liz Winnel. The wallpaper overlays a soundboard designed by SCAD student Ross Fish. When you touch the wall, an algorithm is triggered to produce randomized audio file sounds.
Inside SCADpad Asia, a geometic wallpaper adorns the walls, which was painted by BFA and MFA painting graduate Liz Winnel. The wallpaper overlays a soundboard designed by SCAD student Ross Fish. When you touch the wall, an algorithm is triggered to produce randomized audio file sounds.

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 bathroom in SCADpad Europe features op art vinyl graphics on the walls.
The bathroom in SCADpad Europe features op art vinyl graphics on the walls.

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.


About Savannah College of Art and Design

About SCADpad


Interior Designer Offers Custom Furniture Skins and Wallcoverings

San Francisco-based interior designer Maloos Anvarian specializes in “modern furniture with a history.” She likes taking styles of historical importance and bringing them into the 21st century. That might mean furniture that could be described as Contemporary Baroque, or an interior that conjures up the star- crossed feel of Country French kissed by Hollywood Regency.

Anvarian recently announced three products created with 21st-century printing technology and the types of specialized materials that you can see displayed at the annual expo of the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA). DWM | Maloos offers:

  • custom-designed vinyl skins for furniture
  • stock (aka prêt-à-porter) wallpaper patterns 
  • “couture” varieties of wallcoverings

The furniture skins are made from a very pliable, yet durable printable vinyl. When applied to the intricate surfaces of a piece of furniture, the printed vinyl fundamentally alters the personality of the furniture — much like an iPhone skin personalizes a phone or printed graphics change the look of a a car or truck.

All skins are designed and produced in-house at DWM Maloos. They are being promoted as a way to make old furniture look new again.

Before the skin was applied.
Before the skin was applied.
















After the wrap was applied
After the wrap was applied

The new wallpaper is available in two versions. The pre-designed (prêt-à-porter) option is available in more than 25 designs, all of which can be ordered in custom colors. According to Anvarian, the stock versions “are designed to be as bold and stylish as good clothes.”


For the personalized (couture) wallpaper, Anvarian first takes the client’s specifications and supplied photograph, sketch, patterns, or other graphic. She will then lay it out in a wallpaper design that takes into account the size and features of a specific wall or room.

Both options can be printed on panels or rolls in widths of 24 or 50 inches. The 50-inch width means fewer seams and a more efficient installation. Clients can choose to have the designs printed on pre-pasted paper as well as fabric, all of which are available in eco-friendly wallpaper options.

All wallpaper is printed in small batches, which allows for greater flexibility and consistent quality.


DWM | Maloos Furniture Skins

DWM | Maloos Custom Wallpaper