airbnb's new venture includes designing and building houses

airbnb's new venture includes designing and building houses

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.

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    design news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    502,388 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample