Billboards are commanding territory all over the world, offering just a blaring message in their occupation. Some designers have been looking at how to better use this advertising infrastructure, with Slovakia’s Designdevelop proposing a use for the space as small-scale residences for the homeless.
Called the Gregory Project (with a site that is awkwardly translated into English, but conveys the basic ideas), it transforms existing triangle-shaped billboards in Slovakia into compact living spaces. The initiative, brought to our attention by Laughing Squid, is still in the conceptual stages, with the hope to first implement it in the city of Banska Bystrica. In practice, it’s proposed the homes could be partly funded by advertisers who rent the billboards, a compelling PR move for company image and a nice trade off for offering housing to someone who has nowhere else. The Gregory Project is an open source design with the aim that other architects and designers can freely take the ideas and potentially apply them around the world.
While the two-room, tiny home looks cozy with its lofted bed and sleek wood walls, living in an isolated pie-shaped hut by a busy freeway probably isn’t exactly what the homeless need. However, as a proposal for pointing out wasted space in a city landscape it is worth considering. Some other recent proposals for better use of billboard space include air-cleaning bamboo gardens, art exhibitions, and rain shelters. And with a housing crisis mounting in many urban areas, finding sustainable solutions to compact living are increasingly necessary. With advertising not going anywhere and population density in cities continuing to rise, it will be more and more important to consider how valuable space is used, and how one function could support another.