Atlanta Students Reveal SCADpads

For students at Atlanta's Savannah College of Art and Design, the American dream just got smaller in a big way.

Photo by: John Amis/AP Images for Savannah College of Art and Design Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) unveiled SCADpad, a micro-housing experiment that transformed its midtown Atlanta parking structure into a sustainable community, proposing an answer to growing urban housing challenges. This is the exterior view from the approach.

The students at Atlanta’s Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) are too young to remember when paradise was paved over to put up a parking lot. What they do know in great detail, however, is that almost half of the country’s parking spaces go unused, according to the Urban Land Institute. Students also know that the greenest and most sustainable structure is one that has already been built. With the population predicted to rise to five billion in the next 20 years, we’re going to need a bigger boat. 

“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 cofounder of SCAD. “In celebrating our 35th year, SCAD creates SCADpad, an entirely new vision of urban community that focuses the ideas of our students and the expertise of our faculty and alumni and disciplines ranging from urban design, adaptive reuse and architecture to interior design, service design, interaction design, design for 16 ability and fine art.” 

Photo by: John Amis/AP Images for Savannah College of Art and Design SCADpad is a micro-housing experiment that transformed its midtown Atlanta parking structure into a sustainable community, proposing an answer to growing urban housing challenges. This SCADpad North America interior has two felted gray walls with surfaces featuring leather strips affixed in a Navajo pattern, rendered in a classic, American palette.  

For these millennials, the American dream just got a lot smaller but in a big way. Realizing that a whole floor of the parking structure at their Atlanta campus in midtown was going unused, they decided to build housing that could fit into a single 135-square foot parking space. Utilizing what they already had, an integrative group of SCAD students, faculty and alumni planned, sweated and probably cried for 10 months designing and developing SCADpad. 

Their efforts were revealed to the public on Thursday, April 10, 2014. Each of the units was designed with the university’s three locations in mind: Asia, Europe and North America. SCAD has campuses in Savannah (the original), Atlanta, Hong Kong and Lacoste in the south of France. 

The tiny units have unique personalities and countless custom details. For example, students studying various music disciplines designed the Asian unit with “singing” walls. When you brush your hands over different places on the walls, you hear the tinkling of wind chimes or the light whistle on a pan flute. The European unit has a bright orange minimalist shower, while we loved the North American unit’s floor repurposed out of rulers. 

Photo by: John Amis/AP Images for Savannah College of Art and Design A SCAD student relaxes in the student-designed Europe unit. This unit was inspired by the medieval landscape and history of SCAD Lacoste. SCADpad is a housing experiment executed by the students of Atlanta's SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design).

Because of the midtown location, the area is afforded million dollar views of the city skyline viewable from a common green space designed to extend the living area. An organic garden is fed by a greywater filtration and delivery system, while a composting and recycling center helps ensure there is minimal waste. A “rapid prototyping” area featuring a 3D printer lets residents customize their unit to their preferences and needs, a perfect way to live a large life in a tiny space. 

Find out more about SCAD at their web site. 

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