New Orleans architect Jonathan Tate questions the future of design for the American middle class
As the American middle class continues to shrink and millennial buyers are increasingly pushed out of the housing market, architect Jonathan Tate looks to design a new kind of home.
“There’s a lot of attention paid to the lower end—like true affordable housing from a design perspective and a development perspective—and likewise on the high end,” Tate says. “But nobody is looking at the middle.” Positioning his homes in abandoned lots across the city of New Orleans, Tate is looking to cut back on costs without having to sacrifice on materials, construction and design. “What we’re pushing against is the problem with speculative housing—and housing in general—which is people build larger homes because that’s what markets well,” Tate says in a interview with Fast Company. “Being blunt here, they keep costs low by using cheaper materials. We’re trying to invert that. Materially, it’s a small house, but it’s not a tiny house. The term used is ‘right sizing’; we’re just trying to keep it as trim as we can. That money [saved on size] gets pushed back into finishes and quality details.”