A story runs at the heart of design and engineering that win us over. When there's a living, breathing, real-world human narrative to work from as its basis, practical and pragmatic morph in to magical, electric.
If you want to design something new and exciting, first do some learning, then plot out a story of people living a day of their lives that incorporates that learning, and then let imagination drive the development process.
What excites me most about what the team of people who came together to build the now-completed Responsive Homes--the TRI Pointe Group' Pardee Homes BUILDER Concept project, with Bassenian Lagoni Architecture, Bobby Berk as creative director, and Anderson Baron Landscape Architects creating the outdoor living experience--have done at Inspirada in Henderson, Nev., is just this:
They interpreted the notion of "responsive" in a way that springs from everyday needs of everyday young adult people for whom pragmatic solutions and bold dreams comprise the double-helix of their immediate goals for living. A story--in this case of two young adult households at two distinctly different stages of their work and family formation lives--drove the brainstorming, the intent, and the execution from start to finish. What our team of designers, developers, and our host of manufacturer supplier partners have done with our Responsive Homes is to let re-imagining and learning lead their way, all the way to the end of the design process.
So, here "responsive" strays well beyond its normal scope of household adaptability, nimbleness, portability, etc. Here's where we set the bar: "a house that learns is a home that lives." So, if the features and functionality of a house can "take-in" the way its residents use it, then it becomes a place where attitudes, preference, values, and even dreams thrive. It's a home that lives.
For instance, who would ever have imagined that architects would subtract indoor square footage, and by doing so, add to the homeowners' feeling of spaciousness and livability? This is what the team of Pardee, Bassenian, Berk, Anderson Baron, and the manufacturer/ suppliers have done with the contemporary farmhouse, which programs not one, not two, but three entirely discrete outdoor living areas along the flank of the entire south face of the home.
Subtraction adds, or is responsive, to the homeowner's experience. The house has "software" in it, around it, and more broadly, connected to the Inspirada community, that allows the structure to "learn" who the resident is and what he or she wants to do to work, play, relax, have fun.
But it's the way that designers, builders, and manufacturers each started with a real-life story of people who need, and set goals, and dream before they set to work on offering them homes that match up to all of that. This is what we mean when we say that the challenge for Millennials and housing is to inspire them to aspire.