Torti Gallas’s Church Hill North development in Richmond, Virginia Torti Gallas + Partners

From the curb, “missing middle” housing might not look much different from its single-family counterparts—and that’s the point. However, its ability to contain multitudes is what makes it such an innovative option in today’s cost-prohibitive and space-strapped housing market. This typology enlivens neighborhoods and communities without sacrificing single-family scale or the convenience of neighborhood walkability. It’s also what Brian O’Looney, AIA, of Washington, D.C.-based Torti Gallas + Partners, specializes in designing. O’Looney credits Dan Parolek, AIA, an urban designer and architect at California-based Opticos Design, with coining the term.

O’Looney spoke to attendees on this topic at AIA’s 2023 Conference on Architecture, held in June in San Francisco, in a session titled “Enriching Neighborhoods: Building Types for Community Beyond the ‘Missing Middle.’” He encouraged AIA and its members to take a stand for better design in missing middle housing, which, he believes, can support more varied and dynamic neighborhoods.

We chatted with O’Looney about why this typology is becoming increasingly necessary.

Read More