With the understanding that sustainable design stands at the intersection of a number of fields, this multidisciplinary team from Parsons The New School for Design, Milano School for International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, and Stevens Institute of Technology—architects, designers, engineers, and management and urban policy students—is tackling one of today's most urgent social needs: affordable housing. Partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Washington, DC and the DC Department of Housing and Community Development, they are breaking new ground in the competition by taking their project, Empowerhouse, beyond the National Mall and into the local community. The team will design and construct a solar-powered house in the northeastern DC neighborhood of Deanwood. Following the competition, the house will be moved to Deanwood and expanded into a two-family house for local residents.
In the spirit of acting locally but thinking globally, Empowerhouse will set a new standard for affordable and sustainable housing that can be replicated around the world. Central to this goal is a partnership with Habitat for Humanity, which operates in more than 100 countries and builds more than of 20,000 homes each year. The team's innovative approach reflects the commitment of Parsons and The New School to interdisciplinary collaboration, sustainability, civic engagement, and design innovation.