Grow Home

Grow Home

Avi Friedman
Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 206
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt81b1n
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  • Book Info
    Grow Home
    Book Description:

    With economic restructuring, demographic shifts, and lifestyle changes, the traditional family - working father, stay-at-home mother, two to three children - is no longer the norm and the need for smaller homes at moderate cost has skyrocketed. The first prototype of the Grow Home was built on the campus of McGill University in 1990 and more than one thousand units were built across North America and Europe in the first year alone.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6908-9
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xiii-2)
  5. 1 DIFFERENT TIMES, DIFFERENT HOMES
    (pp. 3-11)

    When the Grow Home was introduced in June 1990, it stood in marked contrast to the homes typically built by Montreal developers. “Why is it small?” people asked. “Why is it narrow? What does the “Grow” mean?” Still other visitors wondered whether the Grow Home was meant to be a trend-setter in architecture.

    The design was an architectural response to many changes that had influenced society in the preceding decades, changes that had a profound effect on home life. One indication of the scope of these changes is reflected in the public perception of the traditional family in the years...

  6. 2 CONSTRUCTING IDEAS
    (pp. 12-37)

    Societal changes and their effect on homes and home life focused our attention on necessary design strategies. The next step was to construct the design ideas themselves -that is, to see what should be included in a list of principles that would suit the everyday needs and income levels of the Grow Home's target purchasers. Study of cost-reduction strategies brought to our attention previous architectural attempts to design affordable housing. In the euphoric boom years after the Second World War, returning veterans lined up to purchase homes while builders worked hard to produce them quickly, efficiently, and cheaply. To help...

  7. 3 THE PROTOTYPE
    (pp. 38-54)

    Most homes in North America are built by developers. Unlike custom-built homes, the design of such mass-produced homes demands a different process. At the outset the architect has only a few components to work with. The cost of a serviced lot in the development is known. The developer (builder) familiarizes the architect with built models that have been successful in the past. He also points out the features that are very popular in a particular market (large bathrooms, for instance, or an efficient kitchen), as well as a sketchy image of potential buyers (first-timers in their twenties, for instance, with...

  8. 4 FROM CAMPUS TO SITES
    (pp. 55-71)

    Public reaction to the Grow Home demonstration unit was a surprise. The extensive media coverage was an indication of great interest in the subject. We had underestimated society's desire to keep the dream of home-ownership within the grasp of many. The coverage generated almost 1,300 written requests for information from across North America. About 20 per cent of the requests came from developers, builders, real estate agencies, and other construction-related organizations. We knew that it was this group who would determine whether the Grow Home would find its way onto a building site or remain a prototype.

    The Montreal home-building...

  9. 5 BUYING THEIR FIRST HOMES
    (pp. 72-90)

    Almost nine out of ten Grow Home residents were first-time home buyers who had formerly lived in apartments as tenants. Many were experienced renters, having moved out of their parents’ home to rent as students or share an apartment with a friend and later to move in with a spouse. Prior to buying their first homes, some had lived in as many as five rented apartments.

    The renting routine had been fairly simple. They knew how much they were able and willing to spend. They would have a favourite neighbourhood in mind, close to their work, friends, or leisure activities....

  10. 6 MAKING IT THEIR OWN
    (pp. 91-107)

    The first years were busy for the new Grow Home owners. The reality of home-ownership and the consequences of the trade-offs that some had made were a daily presence. Soon after they had unloaded their furniture and eaten their first meals in the new dining room, the residents set about making the units their own. It took time to get accustomed to the new homes: the sounds that came from the street, the best exposure in summer for a plant. Living in the new homes was a process of getting used to volumes and sizes. The owners tried to fit...

  11. 7 THE GROW HOME OF THE FUTURE
    (pp. 108-127)

    The ability of Grow Home residents to make clear choices about spaces in their basements and then do the work themselves fascinated me. I was especially intrigued by the extent of their resourcefulness. They were able to articulate why a family room was constructed rather than a bedroom. They could also explain the present while plans were made for the future. Many even created lists of forthcoming tasks, matching events in the evolving family with building projects. Within an identical perimeter, each basement was different, reflecting a unique decision-making process. On the main and upper floors, the process was more...

  12. 8 LA CASA A LA CARTA
    (pp. 128-146)

    As you cross the U.S.-Mexico border from San Diego to Tijuana, the contrast between wealth and poverty is striking. Children shove boxes of chewing gum at the car windows, pleading with you to buy some. Young mothers from Chiapas in the south offer Mexican souvenirs as they point to the babies on their backs and the toddlers hanging onto their colourful traditional skirts. As you drive on, the California green is replaced by the brown of the valley ahead. Then you see them on the hillsides, hundreds, maybe thousands: brown dots as far as the eye can see. From a...

  13. 9 SMALL IS GREEN
    (pp. 147-156)

    When Grow Home buyers moved into their first homes, they were content. Life as a renter was replaced by life as an owner. Soon they began to re-evaluate their new family budgets: mortgage payments, municipal taxes, house and car insurance, gas, groceries, daycare -the list grew longer. Would they be able to pay for it all on time? They were anxious to see the total on one particular bill: heating. It gets very cold in Montreal, and on some winter nights the temperature can plummet to -3o°c. The Grow Homes were heated primarily by electric baseboards. Despite the fact that...

  14. 10 NEIGHBOURHOODS WITH A SENSE OF SCALE
    (pp. 157-168)

    It was a chilly spring morning in Meerlo where I had arrived the previous night to attend a conference. I was up early because of jet lag and left my hotel to walk around this Dutch neighbourhood on the outskirts of Eindhoven (figure 1). The streets were mostly empty. From time to time, someone stepped out of one of the townhouses that lined the streets, offered me a greeting, then got into a parked car and drove away. The houses were clad with brick and had red clay tiles on their roofs. The facades were simple, some painted white. Door...

  15. 11 WHAT’S NEXT?
    (pp. 169-172)

    I was once told by a former professor that the multi-faceted nature of an idea or concept was a mark of its richness. The Grow Home, I believe, was such an idea. It provided the opportunity for further exploration that generated new ideas. The seed components of the design were not new; they had been investigated and built before. The narrow-front townhouse has been prominent in England and elsewhere from medieval times, and it has evolved since. The design of small homes for the efficient use of space and for ongoing modifications or expansions by the residents was also not...

  16. REFERENCES
    (pp. 173-180)
  17. SOURCE CREDITS
    (pp. 181-182)
  18. PHOTO CREDITS
    (pp. 183-184)
  19. INDEX
    (pp. 185-187)