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More BMW-inspired housing by Harvard

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh  February 23, 2009 11:57 AM

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GINA StudioThe "Gina Teleburb" shows enclosed roads that link to groups of homes. (Harvard University)

You may have read the post on the New York Times Wheels blog last month about ex-BMW design chief Chris Bangle's brief tenure at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The 13 architecture students in the "GINA Studio" course - only offered last fall - created housing projects inspired from Bangle's fabric-wrapped GINA concept car, which bends and flexes according to the driver's needs.

Today's Globe highlighted a few more eye-popping drafts from the course, but oddly enough, none of the projects here mention space for a garage. More photos and descriptions follow in the full entry.

All photos courtesy Harvard University.

Gina Teleburb

Kent Gould designed this web of homes to withstand harsh environmental conditions "such as lava fields, barren areas, and flood plains." They're connected by enclosed roads that collapse and expand.


Cloud Suburbia

From Justin Chen: "Some time in the next 50 years, when suburbs run out of places to sprawl and need to colonize the air space above the freeways. The house is made from materials still to be developed, such as stretchable ETFE, elastic structural frames, and flexible tensile skins."


"Since not all functions in the house are used simultaneously, each cell, or room, in the house can expand and contract as needed to make the most out of a given area and volume. Courtyard cells are essential to the design, as they allow for natural light and ventilation into internal areas such as sleeping or eating areas."


Playing Architecture

Ignacio Gonzalez Galan's suburban complex has roofs that extend upward during the day and shrink at night to conserve heat.



The Target of the future? This residential and commercial building by Megan Panzano has stretchy walls should more space be needed.


This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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19 comments so far...
  1. My 7 year old probaly could have done better than this

    Posted by bill February 23, 09 02:18 PM
  1. They've got a really adept command of the computer software. Why are the architectural concepts so uninteresting to look at?

    Posted by Mike February 23, 09 06:29 PM
  1. All this "flexibility" is great - expanding spaces, etc. - but what about the "hard points", the pipes and wires for bathrooms and kitchens. These things are (kind of) pretty to look at, but I'd only want to "camp out" in one, not live in it.

    Posted by Peter Fairbank February 24, 09 07:55 AM
  1. Nice, more "starchitecture" in the making.

    Posted by sam February 24, 09 12:24 PM
  1. Is this the same guy who gave BMW the 'i-Drive' that was so universally loathed? That's the control system where you have to take your eyes off the road numerous times to manage a joystick and a touch screen to raise or lower the cabin temperature or perform any other function so intuitively managed by large round dashboard knobs for the last 80 years.

    Posted by Richard February 24, 09 12:31 PM
  1. I really like the Gina Teleburb, especially for use in Australia. Plumbing and sanitation would have to worked out adequately! Also heavy winds withstanding, it would be great if it was fireproof.
    The Cloud Suburbia's shape and lighting appeals to the eye. Would it be able to float like a cloud if the suburb below was densely populated?

    Posted by carolgai February 24, 09 12:48 PM
  1. Bangle is routinely derided as having spoiled the classic looks and lines of BMW's with his "Bangle-butt" trunk and "flamer-surfacing" body panels.

    1) BMW realistically has nothing to do with article. So much for principles in journalism. Bangle worked at Fiat, why not make that association as well? Ever seen the ugly Fiat Coupe he penned (scribbled?)
    2) I think every one of those designs is Bangle-butt ugly, in keeping with his traditional design theory.

    Next journalist , please.

    Posted by Rlynden February 24, 09 01:04 PM
  1. thanks bill, great input. Keep up the good work!

    Posted by Billy February 24, 09 02:13 PM
  1. Typical Harvard design BS. Let MIT take a crack at it--might actually work!

    Posted by Falstaff February 24, 09 02:31 PM
  1. Like that broken rocket-ship building they have off Vassar St?

    Posted by Anonymous February 24, 09 04:06 PM
  1. Those housing ...does not look inhabitable

    Posted by Anonymous February 24, 09 06:11 PM
  1. I'm all for new ideas, especially on housing and the environment. Even though I don't agree with feasibility of many which are put forward, such as this.
    When that happens, I usually hope that it was developed as an individual effort or project and not funded by my taxes.

    Posted by jamie139 February 24, 09 07:22 PM
  1. Home invaders and burglars, take note.

    Glad to see their so focused on addressing the real problems we're facing, like how to build more housing in the suburbs. LOL!

    Posted by Marcus February 24, 09 10:24 PM
  1. The headline should have been "More BMW-uninspired housing from Harvard"

    Posted by Dan February 25, 09 02:21 PM
  1. Too many moving parts in the Gina Teleburb. All potential failure points. I would hate to get stranded with no tunnel. As a side note - who has the time to fold and unfold their house in an average working day or week? Seems too complex for real life.

    Posted by Diana February 25, 09 02:55 PM
  1. Very uninspired...One day, all these students will be working for graduates of the BAC, where real architecture is practiced.

    Posted by Arch-villain February 25, 09 08:29 PM
  1. funny how Bangle is derided, yet the 1-series looks excellent and every single car manufacturer in the world still copies BMW, despite it's oh-so-horrible designs. I love the 5-series, 3-series, the refreshed 7-series, 6-series...not sure what everyone complains about when Honda, Toyota, Lexus, and VW tries to copy those designs.

    Posted by FJ February 26, 09 07:38 AM
  1. obviously they chose form over function...

    Posted by Clinton February 28, 09 04:59 PM
  1. Is this housing for real life? Because it looks like something you'd see on Second Life.

    Posted by Schweezy March 2, 09 03:39 AM

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
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