Alright folks, this is my 4th and final post about the SXSW Airbnb design project – and this one, about the exterior, was a BEAST which is why its taken me 5 weeks to write. It was one of the most challenging projects i’ve ever done, and I remember even saying once that I was more stressed out than i’ve been in years. Let me tell you why:
We had to turn this 20K square foot asphalt parking lot into a green, lush, backyard oasis full of trees, grass and furniture …. in TEXAS … without ever seeing it and in the winter when most trees didn’t have their leaves on them. 20K square feet is MASSIVE. Like Costco size. Also this area needed to function a very specific way for all the events that were going to happen there – live music events, magic shows, dinners, yoga …. so making the design for those needs was challenging, too. (Check out the first Airbnb event we did HERE and look at at the popups we designed with these celebrities: Moby, Lake Bell, Molly Sims, Anjelica Huston, and James Franco, as well as Snoop Dogg’s and Capital Cities, and Allen Stone)
Here is what I had to work off of:
To someone like me (untrained in architecture and no FORMAL design training) the above blueprint is about as understandable as a diagram of a car engine … its all just martian language, really. So then I satellite viewed the parking lot on google maps:
Ok, now that I am starting to understand better but its still so abstract. In retrospect I probably should have flown down there for two days a few weeks before to see for myself, but I was busy it wasn’t in the budget, yadda yadda.
And here’s how it looked from the street view – she was a dead, gray asphalt parking lot. So Ginny and I started to brainstorm how to turn this parking lot into a ‘neighborhood oasis’ – using these kit haus’ and 20k square feet.
We brainstormed for a couple of days and came up with this ‘Edward Scissorhands meets the Indie Southwest’. We figured it we were going to create a neighborhood why not create a super iconic suburb with acid colors, a picket fence and topiaries (which got nixed, sadly).
We loved the idea of taking a really traditional suburban house and neighborhood and plopping it in the middle of a total young, hipster party zone. It acted as both the respite from the craziness, and contrast to the grittiness of the East 6th neighborhood, while still being a total party space. (more…)