Slovakian architecture agency Design Develop has launched a plan to turn roadside billboards into houses for the homeless.
According to the initiators of the Gregory Project, the triangular space in between the four sides of the roadside billboards are mostly unused, though they offer great spaces for housing. The houses would contain two separate rooms. One room combines the entrance hall with a kitchen, a small desk, and a raised bed with storage space underneath, while the other room functions as a bathroom. One of the advantages of using these spaces for living is that the billboards are already connected to electricity as the billboards are illuminated during nights. Also the revenues of the advertisements partly pay for the maintenance of the apartments.
The Gregory Project aims to address the homeless issue, which in itself is a relevant issue to stand for. One should though ask the question whether the homeless want to live more than anybody else in special urban conditions, and whether designer houses on these types of locations would help them reclaim a place in society. Also would any house for a regular family — at least in the Netherlands — not be allowed alongside the highway, as a consequence of air and noise pollution. Our advice to the designers would be to test it on the regular housing market and see who would be interested in living in a billboard house.