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  • Makoto Shibuya

Invisible Architecture

Much human potential is curtailed when we cannot afford a home—we need a roof over our heads before we can think about doing anything else.

I know many architects who get into architecture to build affordable housing to no avail. Their logic is that if they can help build housing more affordably, more people will be able to afford a place to live.

We all try to solve problems with the tools we know how to use. Architects understandably intuit they can help by designing more affordable homes because that is their skill set.

Although design fees, labor, and materials contribute to housing costs, the underlying issue of affordability is invisible and harder to see.

Housing prices represent two values: utility as shelter and monetary store of value as a scarce asset.

The invisible problem is that housing has become a necessary store of value against an inflating currency.

In an inflationary environment, housing prices rise despite the utility value remaining relatively unchanged, making housing unattainable for many.

A solution to affordable housing lies outside the architect's traditional tool kit.

What if we could build an invisible house?

Over time, the monetary value of homes can move into the invisible house, thereby letting housing prices reflect their utility value.

It is a superior store of value as you can store incremental and infinite value in an invisible home without degradation or maintenance.

Better yet, you don't need permission, an architectural license, a building permit, or a sizeable downpayment to start building an invisible house.

While architects love the tactile tectonics of buildings, building invisible architecture is the first step to creating meaningful architecture.



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