Type of Document Thesis Author McGrew, Ashley Blair Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-11102008-193411 Title Repurposing the Suburban McMansion: A Congregate Living Proposal for Seniors, Small Families, and Young Professionals Degree Master of Science Department Interior Design, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Jill Pable Committee Chair Eric Wiedegreen Committee Member Tock Ohazama Committee Member Keywords
- Small Families
- Young Professionals
- Congregate Living
- Sustainable Design
- Interior Design
- High-Density Living
- Mutually Supportive Living
- Special Needs
- Vacant Homes
- Communal Kitchen
- Space Planning
- Intentional Community
- Housing Conditions
- Mortgage Lending Crisis
Date of Defense 2008-10-14 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe mortgage lending crisis of 2008 in the United States has become a major political and social issue (Reuters, 2008). Within this dilemma are two specific problems which may be solved to mutual benefit. First, there is an abundance of empty homes on the market; and second, there are people who cannot qualify to buy acceptable housing due to stricter lending standards.
Specifically, this study will address the need for affordable housing and the concurrent problem of empty ‘McMansions’, a dwelling type increasingly available due to the current mortgage crisis. In an effort to provide a solution to the housing crisis for various population groups, three different residential designs will be designed within a McMansion, with one unit each designed specifically for seniors, small families, and young professionals. Each will incorporate design features that seek to promote community, mutual support amongst the residents, and principles of sustainability.
The McMansion to be repurposed will be located in a suburban area of Washington, D.C. where the cost of housing is especially expensive. As this is not yet a familiar housing solution, opposition to the project design is anticipated.
This presents challenges to provide both affordable housing options as well as solve the issue of vacant homes across the country. Further, this study’s proposal for congregate, mutually supportive living may also offer social benefits for certain types of persons in western culture. These groups include the elderly, families with young children, and young professionals who have yet to achieve full financial stability.
Several design solutions will be presented that will utilize vacant houses and turn them into affordable homes while also facilitating community interaction and sustainability. The design will take advantage of sustainable aspects such as higher-density living, mass transportation, and proximity to local necessities.
It proposes to accomplish this by using existing housing stock, and specifically the particular type of house some sources have derided as ‘McMansions’, or dwellings which are larger than the average 2,500 square foot home, generic in style and packed in close together on insufficiently-sized lots (Smith, 2007). This repurposing also serves to make timely use of existing dwellings (which themselves use considerable natural resources to construct) in a different way, thus avoiding the unnecessary construction of further dwellings.
Additionally, the design will seek to encourage interaction among residents, sustainability within the living environment, and a sense of community. To accomplish this, a congregate living structure will be created from an existing single-family home providing private residences as well as communal facilities. The common areas within the structure will encourage residents to interact with one another by providing spaces for neighbors to meet both casually and intentionally. A communal kitchen and dining area will be provided to encourage planned meals and gatherings. Also, shared laundry facilities, an exercise room, and lounge will support casual meetings between residents. The common areas will promote interaction by providing group seating areas and specialized spaces that will allow the residents to interrelate, permitting enhanced mutual reliance. Shared concerns such as childcare (small families), health and wellbeing (the elderly), and similar preferences in entertaining (young professionals) may benefit all residents. Thus, the individual dwellings will provide the amenities expected within a single-family home while also allowing the residents to be part of a community without having to leave the structure.
The dwelling will remain similar to the surrounding homes in appearance, maintaining the relationship with the community and minimizing disruption of the visual nature of the neighborhood. The interior of the residence will be modified to accommodate the specific needs of the three groups of prospective residents.
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