back in 2016, airbnb co-founder joe gebbia announced the creation of samara — a multidisciplinary innovation and design studio exploring the intersection of architecture, product production, software, and new economic models. as a design graduate himself, gebbia has concentrated his efforts in using the power of creativity to reimagine the future. two years later, samara: backyard launches — a project that prototypes new ways that homes can be designed, built, and shared.

airbnb's new venture includes designing and building houses samara backyard designboom


samara: backyard looks into our current built environment and rethinks it by acknowledging new sophisticated manufacturing techniques, smart-home technologies, and insight from the airbnb community. the project responds to changing owner or occupant needs over time with prototype units looking to be tested as soon as fall 2019.


‘airbnb challenged conventional thinking and pioneered in an entirely new industry,’ says joe gebbia. ‘we helped people activate underutilized space — from a spare bedroom or treehouse to your apartment while you’re away — and built a community that connected people around the world. with backyard, we’re using the same sense through which airbnb was envisioned — the potential of space — and applying it more broadly to architecture and construction.’

airbnb's new venture includes designing and building houses samara backyard designboom



with the extensive data airbnb has collected, the company has a deep understanding of the ways in which hosts transform their homes to accommodate guests. but for samara: backyard, gebbia wanted to start from a simple question: what does a home that is designed and built for sharing actually look and feel like? this question led to others like can a home respond to the needs of many inhabitants over a long period of time? can it support and reflect the tremendous diversity of human experience? can it keep up with the rate at which the world changes? can we accomplish this without filling landfills with needless waste?


the team at backyard observed the construction industry in search of practical solutions, raging from eco-friendly materials to fully prefabricated homes. ‘simply put, nothing addresses long-term adaptability from a systemic perspective,’ explained project leader fedor novikov. ‘the only way to close the gap was to work from first principles and imagine entirely new approaches for building homes.