Houses on Houses

Option Studio, Professor Ana Miljacki, MIT

From a series of housing studies done in collaboration with the entire studio.

From the serpentine concrete ruins of a failed capitalist development rises a new architecture for a new community. A waterfront once intended for public housing, since co-opted by investors, has been returned to the citizens of Belgrade. Experimental housing units nestle between unfinished pools previously guarded by the private elite, reprogramming their purposes for the people: public bathing, farming, and skateboarding. The phantom of the ‘basic unit’ haunts both the socialist legacy of Blok 44 and the luxury capitalist developments just across the Sava. New housing provides an offering for those familial and kin-ly formations neglected by the successive housing markets of Belgrade. The unit expands to support alternative living: extended families with dependents both elderly and young, friends who pool resources to secure decent housing, couples intertwined by joint responsibilities to children, those who find intimacy beyond the nuclear family. Nearly two out of every three apartments in Serbia already house more than the intended occupancy—it is time to expand the unit.