At Home with the Collective: A Summit on Communal Housing
October 19–20, 2023
1100 Architecture + Design Studios
845 West Harrison Street

This conference is free and open to the public. You can attend in person or livestream on the school’s YouTube channel.

This 2-day summit will gather speakers from around the world, local stakeholders and activists, as well as city officials who have radically rethought established norms of living, models of homeownership, and the formal, programmatic, material, and legal parameters of housing. Our ambition is to generate new knowledge that can confront the current crisis and speak to the potential of collective housing as a productive challenge for architecture.

While housing could be described as one of the primary forms of architecture and one of today's most crucial tasks, spatial practices have been slow in rethinking established forms of living and the politics and economies surrounding it. Indeed, escaping the pervasive models of profit-based homeownership seems increasingly difficult when dominated by neoliberal market values. This summit, therefore, posits a radical shift from house to housing and from the individual to the collective as a mechanism to refocus housing as a community-building, solidarity-building, and city-building project.

Organized and chaired by Associate Professor Alexander Eisenschmidt


Thursday, October 19

10:00    Alexander Eisenschmidt Introduction

10:15     Form & Urbanism

Neeraj Bhatia (The Open Workshop), San Francisco and Toronto, Canada
“Forming Life in Common”

Meng Yan (Urbanus), Beijing, China
“Mini, Hybrid and Collective: Alternative Urban Dwelling in Chinese Megacities” 

Martino Tattara (Dogma), Brussels, Belgium
“An Architectural Quest for Communal Housing: Ideas on Typology, Property, Construction, and the City”

11:30    Respondents: Sarah Dunn, UIC Architecture (UrbanLab) + Jaime Torres Carmona (Canopy Architects)

12:30    Break

1:30     Home & Refuge 

 Golnar Abbasi, Rotterdam, Netherlands and Tehran, Iran
“Domesticities of Displacement, Extraction, and Revolution”

Sandi Hilal (DAAR), Bethlehem, Palestine
“Learning from Living Room”

Andrew Herscher, Ann Arbor, Michigan
“Humanitarianism’s Housing Question”

2:45      Respondents: Clare Lyster, UIC Architecture (CLUAA) + Julie Dworkin (Chicago Coalition for the Homeless)

3:45     Value & Property

Hilary Sample (MOS), New York City
 “Housing and Communal Gardens”

b+ (Arno Brandlhuber & Olaf Grawert), Berlin, Germany
“Legislating Architecture: The Demolition Drama”

Felipe Vera, Chile, “Reimagining Housing in Times of Uncertainty”

5:00      Respondents: Grant Gibson, UIC Architecture (CAMESgibson)

Friday, October 20

10:00    Exchange & Community 

Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco, New York City
“Housing and Social Reproduction” 

Zvi Efrat, Tel-Aviv, Israel
“Amateurism and Total Design: The Architecture of the Kibbutz”

Cristina Gamboa, (Lacol), Barcelona, Spain
“Cooperative Housing as Infrastructures for Sustainable Living”

11:15    Respondents: Penelope Dean, UIC Architecture (Flat Out) + Laura Weathered (Near Northwest Arts Council)

12:15    Break

1:15      Organization & Advocacy

Lahbib El Moumni (MAMMA), Casablanca, Morocco
“From Paper to People: The Living Transformation of Casablanca's Historic Homes"

Valeria Esteves (CCU), Montevideo, Uruguay
“Cooperative Housing: Collective Homeownership and Assisted Self-Management Experience”

Lúcia Lotufo (Usina CTAH), São Paulo, Brazil
“Building Self-Management Housing Practices in Architecture”

Christopher Hawthorne, New Haven
“Housing the Third Los Angeles”

2:30      Respondents: David Brown, UIC Architecture + Kathleen Day (Preservation of Affordable Housing)

3:30      Roundtable with Chicago Public and Cultural Leaders

5:00      Party

At Home with the Collective is sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Research; the Institute for the Humanities; the Great Cities Institute; the Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement; the Social Justice Initiative; the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts; and the School of Architecture at UIC. The summit is supported by AIA Chicago and CES approval is pending. External funding is provided through grants by the Driehaus Foundation and the Chicago Community Loan Fund.