Airbnb has announced it will be designing its own homes, in a bid to encourage the construction industry to be more “socially responsible”.
The initiative is called Backyard and is a new project from Airbnb’s experimental product development team, Samara.
The project will explore how the use of new manufacturing techniques and technology, such as smart-home devices, can be used to sustainably create new buildings “without filling landfills with needless waste”, according to Joe Gebbia, co-founder at Airbnb.
Gebbia also says that the team’s design of new homes will consider the movement of people, particularly how the inhabitants of homes may change over time, and how homes may be shared by many people.
The Backyard team is made up of different disciplines, including industrial and interaction designers, architects, those working in robotics, mechanical and hardware engineers, material specialists and those working in housing policy.
Its members have completed research into existing ways that the construction industry is trying to be more sustainable, such as the use of “eco-friendly” building materials and “fully prefabricated” housing, meaning all the sections and interiors of a building are pre-made, which speeds up construction time.
The initiative looks to address global issues such as overcrowding, mass migration and climate change, and has been set up in response to the fact that 3,300 new homes are constructed every day in the US, according to Airbnb.
“This goes beyond a business opportunity – it’s a social responsibility,” Gebbia says. “The way buildings are made is outdated and generates a tremendous amount of waste. To meet the demands of the future… the home needs to evolve.”
Gebbia is currently seeking designers, engineers and architects to join the Backyard team.