Posted by: Mickey Goodman | April 11, 2014

Wave of the Future: Housing the Size of a Garage Parking Place

Interior of "Asian" SCADpad with interactive walls

Interior of “Asian” SCADpad with interactive walls

As a journalist, I get to meet the most fascinating people and visit sites I might never dream of, including multi-million dollar mansions. But one of the coolest things I’ve seen in 15 years of writing for a living is located in the Savannah School of Art parking garage in Atlanta.

If you love architecture, creative design, innovation, technology and just pure talent, don’t miss the open-to-the-public weekend dates in April and May ( You’ll be mine-boggled at what ingenious minds can produce when working together.

SCADpad is a community of three 135-square-foot residences on wheels (yep, that’s the size of a normal parking space in a high-rise lot). But every square inch has been re-purposed as an inventive comfortable, attractive living space.

The collaborative effort between 75 students from 12 disciplines in SCAD’s Senior Studies class and 12 faculty members has totally repurposed the bland garage into a park, a garden with an attractive NU box (nutrient box) with storage for gray water for the plants, a composter that supplies nutrients and more. Open workspace (The Rapid Prototyping Area) has a 3D printer designed by students, plus benches and tables for studying and a nearby parking rack for bikes and scooters.

Nothing goes to waste. Gray water from showers and sinks is used to water the garden; solar panels provide energy and lighting, and everything within the units is controlled by Apps created by the students. An added bonus: the views of downtown Atlanta are phenomenal.

Named European, North America and Asian, the three SCADpads are decorated to reflect the three areas of the globe where SCAD colleges are located. Each has a narrow and private outdoor space.

Interior of "European" SCADpad

Interior of “European” SCADpad

Most of the accessories for the tiny residences were produced on the 3D printer that was designed by students. Pod residents can also use the amazing printer to produce other objects they need for their spaces. Everything within the community is multi-functional. Most have been made from recycled materials.

In the park, a large round basket serves alternately as seating, a table or storage. The base of the round table that unites the curved seating area that was designed for both lounging and perching is made from brightly painted tires.

Think you could never live in such a tiny space? SCAD put out the word to their students and had so many applicants for the week-long experiments – life as art — they had to hold a lottery for the one-week stays.

“The idea is to provide housing for Millennials who don’t feel the need for cars, haven’t accumulated ‘stuff,’ but want their private spaces,” says Victor Ermoli, Dean of the School of Design and Academic Services. “We want to demonstrate that you can live big in small spaces.”

SCADoad 3D printer used to create accessories for interiors

SCADoad 3D printer used to create accessories for interiors

Ermoli proudly points to some of the innovative features. There are interactive pillows, wall coverings and cushions that light up at the touch of a hand or play music. Hand-designed wall, floor and ceiling tiles serve as insulation; windowpanes react to light and frost to create privacy — and more. Storage is tucked along the walls and on them and under the beds. Bathrooms are sparse, narrow spaces with the shower at one end, the commode at another and the sink in between.

“In the United states, there are 1.5 million parking spaces, five for every car,” says Ermoli. The SCAD garage has 109 spaces; eight are used for the SCADpad community. Our idea is convert some of them into eco-friendly living spaces that will revitalize cities and provide inexpensive housing.”







  1. fascinating, Mickey. thanks for sharing news about this.

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