Airbnb to start designing homes next year with new “Backyard” business

(Credit: iStock)

Airbnb is officially getting into the business of home design with a new initiative called Backyard.

Prototypes of the housing developed for Airbnb Backyard will be revealed in 2019 and the models are expected to range from guest houses to single-family and even multifamily homes, according to Fast Company.

Airbnb’s chief product officer and co-founder Joe Gebbia, who also leads the company’s futures division, Samara, said Backyard will focus on designing prototypes of a living “system” in addition to the physical structures.

“Backyard isn’t a house, it’s an initiative to rethink the home. Homes are complex, and we’re taking a broad approach–not just designing one thing, but a system that can do many things,” Gebbia told Fast Company. “Backyard investigates how buildings could utilize sophisticated manufacturing techniques, smart-home technologies, and gains vast insight from the Airbnb community.”

Backyard’s prototypes will reportedly support short-term rentals and co-living concepts, but Gebbia said the company’s homes are not exclusively tailored to Airbnb hosts.

The Samara division was started by the company years ago to develop new lines of business for Airbnb. Samara built its first house back in 2016 in Japan called the Yoshino Cedar House. It was designed by architect Go Hasegawa and houses a community center and Airbnb rentals. [Fast Company] — Erin Hudson

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