Making Room


We are thrilled that Making Room is going national! Opening on November 18th 2017, Making Room: Housing for a Changing America is an exhibition organized with the National Building Museum in Washington DC in partnership with Resource Furniture and Clei. Based on our Making Room research initiative, the exhibit showcases innovative housing design solutions for meeting the evolving 21st-century needs of America’s diverse households.

Our research shows that unprecedented shifts in both demographics and lifestyle have fundamentally transformed the idea of the American household. Today, approximately one third of our households are single adults living alone, and the number of those who live with roommates, or in extended family situations, is on the rise. Our population is also aging rapidly and will need new housing options that can support aging-in-place with diminished physical or cognitive abilities.

America’s housing supply, however, has been slow to respond to these extraordinary demographic shifts. While only 20% of American households are a nuclear family, our housing markets remain fixated on their needs. The disparity between the perceived and actual housing needs of our population is exacerbating the modern housing crisis—a factor few are talking about on the national level.

Making Room is a rallying cry for a wider menu of housing options. It showcases how architects, policymakers, developers, planners, and the general public can use design as an integral tool to meet housing needs. Presented with Resource Furniture and Clei, the exhibition’s centerpiece is a fully rendered 1,000-square-foot home designed by Italian architect Pierluigi Colombo/Clei and installed directly in the exhibition’s galleries for visitors to experience and explore. Featuring a hyper-efficient layout, smart technologies, movable walls, and multifunctional furniture, the Open House demonstrates how a flexible space can meet the needs of a variety of today’s fastest-growing and underserved households. To showcase how this flexible space can adapt to seamlessly accommodate three entirely different living arrangements—roommates, an extended family, and a retired couple—the interior furnishings will be changed twice during the exhibition’s run. The roommates scenario will be displayed at the exhibition’s opening.

In addition to the Open House, the exhibition highlights cutting-edge projects that housing entrepreneurs (architects, designers, housing advocates and policy-makers) are taking to expand our housing options, including: micro-apartments; shared housing; accessory dwelling units; tiny houses and cohousing.

The exhibition runs from NOVEMBER 18, 2017–SEPTEMBER 16, 2018. The National Building Museum is located at 401 F St NW, Washington, DC 20001.