Just a few weeks ago, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) unveiled SCADpad, a unique micro-housing and adaptive reuse experiment that transformed the parking structure of its midtown Atlanta location into a sustainable community that proposes an answer to the world’s growing urban housing challenges. The SCADpad community’s initial residents — SCAD students from both its Atlanta and Savannah locations – began living in the units on April 15.
Designed and developed by an interdisciplinary SCAD team of 75 current students, 37 alumni and 12 professors from 12 academic degree programs, SCADpad will serve as the closing reception venue for the American Society of Interior Designers’ Design to Lead career and leadership summit on May 3.
“The development of SCADpad was more than a classroom learning experience for our students,” said Paula Wallace, president and co-founder of SCAD. “After decades of success as a relevant university preparing students for creative careers, we’ve learned to build bridges from collegiate inquiry to real-life solutions. These 75 SCAD students and 37 alumni joined together to make SCADpad a reality. SCADpad is a testament to the power of innovation, intellectual prowess, research and collaboration.”
Parking Structures: An Untapped Adaptive Reuse Opportunity
Why an experiment in a parking deck? Parking structures are cold, uninhabitable spaces built for cars, not humans; but SCAD sees many of these 20th century structures as huge opportunities for adaptive reuse and historic preservation that bring art and design together, delighting the user and sustainably fostering the evolution of buildings already in place.
“Parking structures are a unique and very recent building type,” said Christian Sottile, dean of the School of Building Arts, SCAD. “It’s not a structure that cities, architects and designers have examined as opportunities for urban living.”
Consider these statistics:
- There are 105 million parking spaces in the United States — or five spaces for every car, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (2012).
- The approximately 40,000 parking structures in the United States operate at half capacity, according to the Urban Land Institute.
About SCADpad Units: Inspired by Art and Design from Three Continents
Each of the three fully functional and fully furnished 135-square-foot SCADpad units fit within a standard parking space. The SCADpads showcase custom art installations from SCAD alumni on the interior and exterior of the micro-homes to create three design themes inspired by SCAD locations around the world: Asia, Europe and North America.
- SCADpad Asia: Intended to reflect the culture and aesthetic of SCAD’s Hong Kong location, SCADpad Asia features a striking physical exterior designed by SCAD painting alumnus Will Penny (B.F.A. and M.F.A.). Inside the unit, the walls are lined with geometric wallpaper overlaying a soundboard, also called human conductive wallpaper. When you touch the wallpaper, randomized musical sounds fill the space.
- SCADpad Europe: SCADpad Europe was inspired by the medieval landscape and history of SCAD Lacoste, France. Designed by SCAD fibers alumna Trish Andersen (B.F.A.), the exterior of the SCADpad features tonal blue lacquered wood panels resembling travertine tiles and scalloped copper tiles that border the roof. The inside of SCADpad Europe is adorned with interactive fiber walls woven from 40,000 pieces of fabric. Maximizing the small space, this SCADpad includes a fold-up hammock bed, which accommodates a desk underneath.
- SCADpad North America: Reflecting the American spirit of self-determination, SCADpad North America has a minimalist paint treatment on the exterior. The interior includes two felted gray walls made by SCAD students and other surfaces featuring tiny leather strips affixed in a Navajo pattern and rendered in a classic, American palette. This installation was created by Marcus Kenney, a SCAD photography alumnus (M.F.A).