Weitzman News

Posted October 25, 2021

'Under Pressure: Essays on Urban Housing' is Released

A new publication, Under Pressure: Essays on Urban Housing (Routledge, 2021), edited by Hina Jamelle, senior lecturer and director of urban housing in the Department of Architecture, gathers and contextualizes recent conversations on urban housing through a design lens. The book traces its origins to a conference organized by Jamelle in 2016 at Weitzman, and includes work produced in graduate architecture urban housing studios at Weitzman alongside illustrated essays by leading professionals.

Of the book’s wide-ranging contributors, Jamelle says in the introduction to Under Pressure, “Its authors represent a broad spectrum of thought leaders from fields including architecture, material design, economics, finance, and real estate. Collectively, the perspectives here maintain that urban housing should be viewed as a confluence of pressures from multiple agents. Pressures are emphasized as sites of agency and effectivity for architects projecting toward the future of urban life, and they are shown to work at different scales ranging from the global economy to cities, industry, buildings, and individuals themselves.”

The book has four frameworks for analyzing and acting upon the pressures affecting urban housing: Learning from History, Changing Domesticities, Housing Finance and Policy, and Design and Material Innovation. “Learning from History takes a fresh look at architectural examples from the near and distant past for both their recognized and latent potential in shaping housing design visions. Changing Domesticities recognizes that people’s living patterns are out of sync with past housing design precedents and examines pressures on the housing unit and the individual onset by paradigm shifts in domesticity. Housing Finance and Policy provides an overview of current and future challenges cities face in meeting housing demand as it relates to economic pressure, with an emphasis on locating domains of greatest agency, influence, and effectiveness for architects and designers. Design and Material Innovation highlights architects who are developing innovative housing designs by experimenting and speculating with new materials, housing unit configurations, fabrication and construction methods, and building concepts that respond to a variety of pressures upon housing at the scale of architecture itself.”

The essays in this book are complemented by urban housing design studies created by students from Weitzman’s Department of Architecture which serve to contextualize and highlight the most relevant and provocative issues in each project. The studies provide focused responses to concepts raised in and across the book’s distinct parts as well as visual and hypothetical roadmaps for how specific concepts can be realized. The studies suggest new formal identities for housing design, elevating the typology’s status through careful, highly articulated designs. They present new modes of conceiving the housing unit, design, urban conditions, and material systems. They also explore the potential for mixed-use programming to function as a design and planning tool that can redistribute services and empower constituents. Together, the essays and studies offer a multidisciplinary amalgam of thought, research, and design intelligence gleaned from urban housing at every scale and a unique rethinking of the condition of contemporary urban housing Under Pressure.

A number of Weitzman faculty contributed essays to Under Pressure, including  

Scott Erdy, lecturer in architecture, on “Living Off the Land”; Laia Mogas-Soldevila, assistant professor of architecture, on “Material Speculation: A Science and Craft”; Hina Jamelle,  lecturer in architecture  on (Re) Configuring Typology and Brian Phillips, lecturer in architecture, “The Value of a Home: A Critical Approach to Local Practice”. 

On Wednesday, October 27, Jamelle will moderate a panel discussion and launch for the book with Ayata (UCLA, Young and Ayata), Erdy (Weitzman, Erdy McHenry), Pearson (Architectural Record), Phillips (Weitzman, ISA Architects), and Mogas-Soldevila. (Weitzman)

Under Pressure: Essays on Urban Housing
Edited by Hina Jamelle
With contributions by Kutan Ayata, Michael Bell and Eunjeong Seong, Jonas Coersmeier, Neil Denari, Scott Erdy, Mimi Hoang, Hina Jamelle, Martha Kelley, Ben Krone, Laia Mogas, Brian Phillips, Patrik Schumacher, Marcelo Spina, Simone Tarantino, Nader Tehrani, Mark Willis.
Design: Madison Green
Publisher: ‎Routledge; 1st edition (September 30, 2021)
8.27 x 11.02 inches
344 pages, Over 400 Illustrations
Hardback, Softback
‎ISBN-10 ‏: ‎ 0367481715 English
ISBN-13 ‏: ‎ 978-0367481711 English