School of Architecture


Year of Housing

Housing+ is a year-long program of lectures, exhibitions and studio inquiries focused on a topic that is of particular relevance to Woodbury School of Architecture. The school brings together students, faculty, administrators and community partners to address the topic of housing in the 2019-20 academic year. Implicit in this call for new models of housing is a call for new models of practice.

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Fall 2019 Housing+ Events

All lectures and exhibitions are free and open to the public.



Apan Social Housing in Mexico Panel
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Woodbury University San Diego
2212 Main Street
San Diego, CA 92113 United States


Frontier Housing Symposium
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

500 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071 United States


AAJ Conference, Student Exhibition
1:45 pm – 2:45 pm

Woodbury University San Diego
2212 Main Street
San Diego, CA 92113 United States


My Way Home: Lecture by 
Jennifer Bonner & Germane Barnes

Ahmanson Main Space
7500 N. Glenoaks Blvd
Burbank, CA 91504 United States


Woodbury's Mission

Woodbury School of Architecture is committed to affordable housing as a critical architectural question and a basic human right.

Faculty & collaborators are invited to define Housing+ projects as a means of examining the future of practice. Recent calls to action that ask architects to help with the housing crisis contain within them a larger critique of the discipline and profession of architecture. It is not housing per se that we have turned our backs on (every school teaches housing studios) but rather the processes and values, embodied most vividly in housing as a project, that are currently throwing the whole discipline into question. Indeed, most buildings are now shaped by non-architectural parameters embodied in housing: policy, economics, the rule of the marketplace, bureaucracy, techniques of construction administration, and codes. That we have turned our backs on housing is simply evidence that we have turned our backs on broader pressures facing the profession.

The Housing Project

The Housing Project

Eames, Schindler, Neutra, Morgan, Greene & Greene, Wright, Williams, Gehry, Lautner; dingbats, craftsman bungalows, courtyard apartments, McMansions: From avant-garde to vernacular, Southern California’s best-known architecture is unquestionably domestic. Paradoxically, in a region where over 80% of our cities are zoned R1, the scale of California’s housing crisis is striking. The shortage is estimated at 3-4 million housing units, with over 130,000 homeless, constituting a staggering quarter of the national total. It’s time for architects and designers to rethink California’s housing typologies.

Many in the design professions have remained notoriously absent from the discussion, claiming that architecture cannot solve the housing crisis. In her introduction to the book Housing as Intervention, Karen Kubey states that “though it was Modernism’s central project, ‘housing’ is often considered separate from ‘architecture.’” She cites Susanne Schindler in stating that housing is a ‘socioeconomic product to be delivered at the least possible cost’, while architecture is considered a ‘cultural endeavor.’ With regulatory constraints, financial and developer pressures, and community NIMBYism, the traditional role of the architect in housing design, particularly affordable housing, has eroded. As author Sam Lubell observes, “All it takes is a visit to the Inland Empire, Orange County, the outskirts of Sacramento or many parts of Silicon Valley to understand that the mass-produced housing stock in our country has become, with a few welcome exceptions, architecturally, urbanistically, and morally bankrupt.”

The Future of Practice


Housing Studios

The School of Architecture explored the potential of the original Case Study Houses, experiments in American residential architecture sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine, which commissioned major architects to design and build inexpensive and efficient model homes for the United States.

Alumni Projects

School of Architecture Alumni are designing and building mixed-use developments, multi-family housing, and custom residences across the United States. Graduates have worked on a range of urban renewal and infill revitalization projects.

iT House, Joshua Tree

Located in Pioneertown, the itHouse is an off-grid construction that pulls the outdoor elements in for both aesthetic and energy. Designed by Linda Taalman, the home utilizes a modular, prefabricated system to cut down on waste and labor, as well as a number of passive heating and cooling measures to maintain a light footprint on a delicate site.


CRO Studio Designs Social Housing Prototype in Mexico

Professor Marcel Sanchez-Prieto’s architecture practice CRO Studio recently completed a social housing prototype for Tecate, Mexico. Designed as part of Housing Laboratory Apan, the project was directed by the Institute for the National Fund for Workers, or INFONAVIT. Established in 1972, the institute aims to help working class and low-income citizens secure permanent housing.

To analyze how to better serve its constituents, INFONAVIT’s Center for Research for Sustainable Development launched a program to solicit new approaches to affordable housing. Former deputy director for sustainability Carlos Zedillo Velasco commissioned 84 design firms from Mexico and the United States to design prototypes for dwelling units optimized for different states and climate zones across the country. New York–based firm MOS helped narrow the schemes to 32 while also developing a master plan for a campus of built prototypes, The also designed an education center to promote awareness about the housing project. The campus, in the town of Apan, about 50 miles northeast of Mexico City, was completed earlier this year.

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The Master of Science in Architecture in Real Estate Development (MSArch RED) program seeks to build upon the unique perspective and ethos of the architect. Through small class sizes and individual attention, we foster close mentoring relationships between faculty, staff and students. While architects design the way a building looks and works, they are seldom involved in the decision of exactly what to build. The MSArch RED program was designed to change the status quo.

Explore our MSARCH RED PRoGRAM    

Ed Ogosta

New Models of Practice

Implicit in the call for new models of housing is a call for new models of practice. Housing + aims to develop projects that positively transform the built environment while identifying new opportunities arising from an examination of the traditional objects of our domain (buildings, cities, landscape, interior environments) from the perspective of new modes of design activity, new value systems, new procurement models, and new clients operating in ways that we might not yet recognize. How do we respond to the challenges posed by tools that are changing, stealing, or eliminating entirely the tasks that have traditionally characterized practice, by new models of project financing, and client operations demanding new expertise on the part of consultants, and by technology that offers not only a new means to an aesthetic end but entirely new aesthetic value systems?


Join the Year of Housing

Woodbury School of Architecture invites students, faculty, administrators and community partners to join Housing+ and submit ideas for lectures, exhibitions, studios and project partnerships. The Year of Housing is open to topics that address housing and new models of practice.

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