In 2019, North Coast Community Homes sponsored a design competition seeking new ideas for accessible housing, with funding from the Cleveland Foundation and technical support from the Cleveland Urban Design Collection (CUDC). All project sites are located in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood in Cleveland and draw inspiration from the Kent State University exhibition, (dis)ABLED Beauty (2016-17). The competition entries were exhibited at venues throughout Cleveland in late 2019 and a competition catalog is under production.
On February 13, NDC hosted a presentation by winning designers from the University of Trento (Italy). The team, consisting of Chiara Pinton, Erica Poli and Silvia Zomelli, along with faculty advisers Sara Favargiotti and Mose Ricci, presented their proposal “INBTWIN,” a concept re-imagining the interstitial spaces between existing housing as an accessible entry and social generator.
The units are “in-between” houses and use replicable yet recognizable forms, lending a dual meaning to the project title. With a minimum of 13 feet between structures, the new forms offer additional square footage, opportunities to re-allocate spaces in the existing homes and to accommodate users who may have needs to due a disability. These additions also create a new environment between neighbors, encouraging social interaction and a sense of shared space. More importantly, the concept speaks to the idea of universal design, a strategy that aims to make design accessible to all no matter age, physical ability or other factors. The competition is the first initiative of The Cleveland Foundation’s Barrier-Free Cleveland.
“INBTWIN” proposed four potential typologies entitled Chameleon, DIY House, Fortress, and Greenhouse to allow for varying materials, costs, and uses for the new forms. These strategies would also have ecological and energy benefits offering warmth to residents in Cleveland’s winter month and cross ventilation opportunities in the summer.
The University of Trento group presented at the Knowlton School’s “Loose Talks” series on Friday, February 14 and returns to Italy on Saturday. Learn more about the Barrier-Free Cleveland program here. Other winning project information can be found below.