Finding Middle Ground: Integrating Architectural Practice into the North American Mass Housing Market

John Brown

Up to 95% of the single family houses built, and being built, in North America have not been designed by an architect. The result is what the Sierra Club calls the ‘Dark Side of the American Dream’ – a vast, formless, un-designed place where almost everyone lives.  This research program explores potential strategies for architects to meaningfully engage this middle ground. It starts from the assumption that the profession can improve the quality of the middle ground by translating its expertise into a format that is understandable to a mass culture audience and by developing new models of practice to deliver that expertise in a manner that works effectively within the vernacular construction industry. The research builds on a twenty year career in unconventional forms of practice that encompasses real estate, construction, architecture, interior design, retailing, writing, lecturing, video production, blogging, social media engagement, and public education.

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PhD phase

Barcelona 2013