Savannah College of Art and Design Unveils the Future of Urban Living

SCADpad micro-housing experiment transforms Atlanta parking structure into a sustainable community for artful living

Apr 10, 2014, 08:00 ET from Savannah College of Art and Design

ATLANTA, April 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) today unveiled SCADpad, a unique micro-housing and adaptive reuse experiment that transformed the parking structure of its midtown Atlanta location into a sustainable community that proposes an answer to the world's growing urban housing challenges.  

  • Over the next two decades, the global urban population is expected to rise to approximately 5 billion.  (Source: UN Report, "World Population to 2300") 
  • Eighty-one percent of the U.S. population resides in urban areas – a 6 percent increase over the last 25 years. (Source U.S. Census 2012; U.S. Census 1990)

"SCAD is a global university, so we see firsthand the urban density issues that the world's most populous cities face," said Paula Wallace, president and co-founder of SCAD. "In celebrating our 35th year, SCAD creates SCADpad, an entirely new vision of urban community that focuses the ideas of our students and the expertise of our faculty and alumni in disciplines ranging from urban design, adaptive reuse, and architecture to interior design, service design, interaction design, design for sustainability and fine art. The result is a now solution – a sustainable urban micro-housing community that projects relevance far beyond form and function to the Vitruvian principles of utility, strength, and delight. SCADpad creates an environment for inventive and artful living."

The SCADpad community's initial residents – 12 SCAD students from the Atlanta and Savannah locations – will move in on April 15.

SCADpad was designed and developed by an interdisciplinary SCAD team of 75 current students, 37 alumni and 12 SCAD professors from 12 academic degree programs. The experimental community also features:

  • A work station built by SCAD furniture design students, featuring a hands-free intuitive 3D printer interface, which allows any SCADpad resident to issue a print command to create wall attachments without pressing a single button.
  • A community garden watered with filtered greywater from one of the SCADpad units and fed by a fiber optic sun harvesting system and high-efficiency composting systems.
  • A waste management center for recycling, composting and trash disposal dubbed NuBox. The NuBox is constructed of reclaimed wood and teaches residents to view traditional waste management as nutrient management.
  • A park featuring custom-designed furniture from SCAD students that helps to transform the uninhabitable parking deck into a livable space inspired by nature.

Parking structures: An untapped adaptive reuse opportunity
"Parking structures are a unique and very recent building type," said Christian Sottile, Dean of the School of Building Arts, SCAD. "It's not a structure that cities, architects and designers have examined as opportunities for urban living."

  • There are 105 million parking spaces in the U.S. – or five spaces for every car. (Source: U.S. Census 2012)
  • The approximately 40,000 parking structures in the U.S. operate at half capacity. (Source: Urban Land Institute)

"Parking structures are cold, uninhabitable spaces built for cars, not humans," said Sottile. "At SCAD, we see many of these 20th century structures as a huge adaptive reuse and historic preservation opportunity to bring art and design together to delight the user and sustainably evolve these buildings already in place."

About the SCADpad units: Inspired by three continents of art and design
Each of the three fully functional and fully furnished 135-square-foot SCADpad units fit within a standard parking space. The SCADpads showcase custom art installations from SCAD alumni on the interior and exterior of the micro-homes to create three design themes inspired by SCAD locations around the world: Asia, Europe and North America. 

  • SCADpad Asia: Intended to reflect the culture and aesthetic of SCAD's Hong Kong location, SCADpad Asia features a striking physical exterior designed by SCAD painting alumnus Will Penny (B.F.A. and M.F.A.). Inside the unit, the walls are lined with geometric wallpaper overlaying a soundboard, also called human conductive wallpaper. When you touch the wallpaper, randomized musical sounds fill the space.
  • SCADpad Europe: SCADpad Europe was inspired by the medieval landscape and history of SCAD Lacoste. Designed by SCAD fibers alumna Trish Andersen (B.F.A.), the exterior of the SCADpad features tonal blue lacquered wood panels resembling travertine tiles, and scalloped copper tiles that border the roof. The inside of SCADpad Europe is adorned with interactive fiber walls woven from 40,000 pieces of fabric. Maximizing the small space, this SCADpad includes a fold-up hammock bed, which accommodates a desk underneath.
  • SCADpad North America: Reflecting the American spirit of self-determination, SCADpad North America has a minimalist paint treatment on the exterior. The interior includes two felted gray walls made by SCAD students and other surfaces featuring tiny leather strips affixed in a Navajo pattern and rendered in a classic, American palette. This installation was created by Marcus Kenney, a SCAD photography alumnus (M.F.A).

"The development of SCADpad was more than a classroom learning experience for our students," said Wallace. "After decades of success as a relevant university preparing students for creative careers, we've learned to build bridges from collegiate inquiry to real-life solutions. These 75 SCAD students and 37 alumni joined together to make SCADpad a reality. SCADpad is a testament to the power of innovation, intellectual prowess, research and collaboration."

SCAD: The University for Creative Careers
The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor's and master's degrees at distinctive locations and online to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers degrees in more than 40 majors. Visit our official blog or For more information on SCADpad visit




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SCADpad - a unique micro-housing and adaptive reuse experiment 
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SOURCE Savannah College of Art and Design