More Than Fifteen Years

What if housing was built with the future in mind, instead of being treated as a fifteen-year investment by real estate speculators? In Houston, six architects active in Switzerland present new approaches to contemporary dwelling.

Housing is a universal challenge, and yet it is often perceived as a narrowly defined problem, dominated by such forces as a rationalized construction industry, restrictive policies and codes, or volatile real estate markets and their supporting instruments. Without a doubt, the housing question is intricately tied to global economic as well as local sociocultural and political forces. With an interest in the potential of housing as an architectural challenge, this symposium will showcase the work of six architects active in and around Switzerland. It will offer perspectives on housing that transcend the frequent divide between social responsibility and profit maximization, reflecting programmatic and formal speculations that are responsive at all scales, and address technical and cultural challenges in architectural terms.

Housing is all too often neglected as a design problem in the United States. Its advancement is often left to investors and developers who treat housing as a commodity, to be depreciated over only fifteen years. The shifting dynamics of this market are particularly evident in a polycentric urban agglomeration like Houston, the fourth largest and one of the most diverse cities in the United States. Revised models of inhabitation are needed that offer attractive housing opportunities for all social strata, in proximity to workplaces and public infrastructures, and consequently with a reduced dependency on the car as a mode of transportation. What if we designed and built more responsibly, with fewer resources, and for a shared future beyond the cycle of fifteen years?

This symposium aims to expose local architects, community stakeholders, as well as students to alternative approaches and research on the housing question. The critical assessment of the discussed models and practices, and their potential adaptation and adoption under the crucial consideration of local socio-economic, political, environmental, and cultural forces, will contribute to an expanding discourse on contemporary dwelling in Houston and beyond.

Poster Download


Thursday, March 2 – 1:00-6:00pm

  • More Than Fifteen Years—Introduction | Reto Geiser (Associate Professor, Rice Architecture)
  • On Collectivity | Presenter: Éric Lapierre (CH), Respondent : Troy Schaum (Associate Professor, Rice Architecture)
  • On Community | Presenter: Christian Inderbitzin (CH), Respondent: Jesús Vassallo (Associate Professor, Rice Architecture)
  • On Sociality | Presenter: Sophie Delhay (CH), Respondent: Scott Colman (Assistant Professor, Rice Architecture)

Friday, March 3 – 1:00-6:00pm

  • On Efficiency | Presenter: Oliver Lütjens (CH), Respondent: Brittany Utting (Assistant Professor, Rice Architecture)
  • On Adaptability | Presenter: Simon Hartmann (CH), Respondent: Andrew Colopy (Associate Professor, Rice Architecture)
  • On Typology | Presenter: Emanuel Crist (CH), Respondent, Albert Pope (Professor, Rice Architecture)

Friday, March 3 – 6:00pm

  • Roundtable | More Than Fifteen Years–What About Houston?
    • Kevin Batcherlor | Senior Managing Director, Hines
    • Ryan Levasseur | Managing Director, Real Estate Development, Rice Management Company
    • Elaine Morales | Director, Partnerships & Policy, Connective; Board Member, Houston Community Land Trust
    • George Ristow | University Architect, Rice University
    • Eva Thibaudeau | Chief Executive Officer, Temenos CDC
    • Reto Geiser (moderator) | Rice Architecture



More Than Fifteen Years: Six Takes on Housing After the Neoliberal Turn is organized by Associate Professor Reto Geiser, Rice University School of Architecture, with the Consulate General of Switzerland in Atlanta, in partnership with Swissnex in Boston and New York and Presence Switzerland, and with support from Schindler and Rice Architecture.