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In Search of Housing Models in America


An empty pad, a concrete slab surrounded by a strip of lawn, will be rented by the owner of a mobile home who will park it here amongst other similar structures, in a trailer park. A trailer park, a quasi-nomadic collection of identical, mass-produced dwellings, 14-feetwide by 75-feet-long, may be the last place an American may chose to live, but what you see here, in the light of the setting sun, captures what most Americans yearn for in a home: a house, a yard, and their own front door. “An empty pad is all I need, I’ll take care of the rest myself,” captures the essence of American housing— individualist at heart and yet indistinguishable from its surrounding community (fig. 1).
Part One: The Situation. An empty pad is all I need.
When approached to select innovative housing examples to represent the United States in a worldwide housing symposium, we looked for innovative housing examples where more than three households coexist to create a coherent place. We thought of innovative housing models as projects whose approach had relevancy beyond the project’s uniqueness. We were interested in new forms of development, in terms of financing or where unconventional forms of ownership or new social compositions were utilized to produce architecture that pushed floor plan and section, construction and materials. With Le Corbusier in mind, who long ago had contributed revolutionary new housing models to the architectural debate, we searched from the East to the West, from the North to the South of this country of three hundred million people. We found that after decades of limitless housing production, the United States, the only industrialized country whose population is still growing, was not overflowing with an abundance of innovative housing models (fig. 2). Why?  ...


Susanne Schindler und Denise Arnold


for entire text see catalogue


Abb. 1 Sunrise Trailer Park, Charlottesville, Virginia; Foto: © Jon Philipp Sheridan,
Abb. 2 Sunrise Trailer Park, Charlottesville, Virginia; Foto: © Andrés Bäcker,



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