So What Is SCADpad?

I get this question from just about everyone — professors, friends, my family, the pizza delivery guy last night. I try to explain, but I usually get confused stares and then the typical follow-up: but why?

Let me explain. (If you would like the official SCAD version, click here.)

SCADpad began as a conversation: how can the arts change the world? How can a field so many find fluffy, highbrow and irrelevant contribute to larger global conversations in a world increasingly dominated by science, technology, engineering and math? (STEM, if you will.)

The world we live in is changing — rapidly and radically. In the past decade, people have been moving into cities at a rate that has not been seen since the Industrial Revolution of the Westernized world (that was the 18th-19th centuries, y’all). Global population is increasing, resources are decreasing, and climate change is a major issue. Basically, hold onto your hat because the 21st century is looking to be more than just a bumpy ride.

Unless we change.

In the past few decades, certain buzzwords and phrases have popped up and stuck: recycling, going green, sustainability. While many thought they would just be fads, they don’t seem to be going away. We could probably add to this list a phenomenon that’s been around since the early 2000’s: micro-housing. In a sort of subculture of sustainable engineering and architecture, engineers, architects and the like have been competing with each other to build ever-smaller units. Google “micro-housing” and you’ll find these units being touted as ways to provide affordable urban housing and even as a way to shelter the homeless. Seattle has received a lot of attention recently for its microunits, and an apartment complex in Brazil boasts 174-square-foot apartments. Still, not a lot of people would jump at living in a smaller space, let alone micro.

This is where SCADpad comes in. In standard SCAD fashion, they chose an already existing complex — the parking deck — and wanted to find a way to repurpose the building into something that is a little bit more relevant to what the 21st century is turning out to be. Where are people going to live in cities? How can we live greener? Can people actually live in these super small spaces?

From the beginning, the focus was the parking space, and students from nearly every department of SCAD, from interior design to sustainability design to fibers, worked to answer this one question: can we build something livable in 135-square feet?

Fast forward 1 year later, and we have SCADpad and an answer to the original question, a resounding YES. And by having students live in the spaces, SCAD will provide even more feedback to the micro-housing discussion: yeah, it’s cool to build these things, but are they actually liveable?

I’ll let you know.

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“SCADpad Village”

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