To round off our Social Housing Revival series, we’ve put together a list of 50 architecture studios around the world that have made a name for themselves through their work on social housing.

For the past month, the Social Housing Revival has explored how we are again in an era when the best architects want to be designing social housing.

Below, Dezeen has put together a selection of architecture studios around the world that are currently at the forefront of the social housing resurgence with the help of experts in the field.

Not all studios listed work on social housing in the most traditional sense, but do equivalent types of housing based on their local contexts.

There are many more studios that also could have been included. If you are aware of others that deserve recognition for their work on social housing, please mention them in the comments section below.

Read on for the full list, in alphabetical order:

Adamo-Faiden, Argentina

Buenos Aires studio Adamo-Faiden was founded in 2005 by Sebastian Adamo and Marcelo Faiden.

The studio is among the leading proponents of Argentina’s “fideicomiso” model, where architects deliver co-housing on behalf of a community without the involvement of a real-estate developer.

Find out more about Adamo-Faiden ›

Boston Road housing by Alexander Gorlin Architects
Photo by Michael Moran

Alexander Gorlin Architects, USA

Alexander Gorlin Architects specialises in designing residential buildings across the value spectrum, including a colourful affordable-housing project in The Bronx for people who previously experienced homelessness (pictured).

Studio founder Alexander Gorlin also is the co-editor of a recent book titled Housing the Nation: Social Equity, Architecture and the Future of Affordable Housing.

Find out more about Alexander Gorlin Architects ›

Archio, UK

Led by Kyle Buchanan and Mellis Haward, London studio Archio specialises in housing and public buildings known for collaborating closely with local communities.

In January, Haward spoke at the Barbican Centre’s event titled “A Public Housing Manifesto”.

Find out more about Archio ›

ZAC Ivry Confluences by Atelier du PontZAC Ivry Confluences by Atelier du Pont
Photo by Takuji Shimmura

Atelier du Pont, France

Atelier du Pont is among a growing number of French architecture studios building a healthy portfolio of social-housing projects.

Examples include ZAC Ivry Confluences (pictured), a 61-home development in Ivry completed in 2016.

Find out more about Atelier du Pont ›

Atelier GOM, China

Established in Shanghai in 2002, Atelier GOM initially set out to capitalise on the meteoric rise of China’s real-estate market in the noughties.

But increasingly it has sought to challenge the status quo of housing design in the country set by state-owned design companies, most notably at Longnan Garden estate, which was featured as a case study in our Social Housing Revival series.

Social housing in Le Blanc Mesnil by Iwona BuczkowskaSocial housing in Le Blanc Mesnil by Iwona Buczkowska
Photo courtesy of Atelier Iwona Buczkowska

Atelier Iwona Buczkowska, France

Polish-born French architect Iwona Buckowska was recently award the Jane Drew Prize for women in architecture, with the judges describing her as “a pioneer of timber construction and a fierce defender of the right to good housing”.

Her studio, founded in 1980, has completed several social-housing projects including the Cité Pierre Sémard (pictured), the largest wooden residential complex in France.

Hempcrete social housing designed by Barrault PressaccoHempcrete social housing designed by Barrault Pressacco
Photo by Giaime Meloni

Barrault Pressacco, France

Founded in 2009 by Thibaut Barrault and Cyril Pressacco, Barrault Pressacco has used social-housing projects as an opportunity to experiment with low-carbon materials.

It used hempcrete insulation in a block of 15 flats in Paris’ 18th arrondissement (pictured), as well as limestone in a building on Rue Oberkampf.

Baigorria housing project by BBOABaigorria housing project by BBOA
Photo by Javier Agustin Rojas

BBOA, Argentina

Rosario-based firm BBOA, or Balparda Brunel Oficina de Arquitectura, has a string of projects in its back catalogue that seek to break away from the monotony of much Argentinian housing.

Examples include a development of pink-bricked apartments delivered with government funding in the town of Granadero Baigorria (pictured).

Find out more about BBOA ›

Wientalterrassen housing by Berger + ParkkinenWientalterrassen housing by Berger + Parkkinen
Photo by Alfred Berger

Berger+Parkkinen, Austria

Vienna is well known as one of the global capitals of social housing, and Berger+Parkkinen is among several architecture studios based in the city to take advantage.

Its social housing projects include Wientalterrassen (pictured), completed in 2022, and Seestadt Aspern Housing, which was featured as a Social Housing Revival case study.

Bio-architecture Formosana, Taiwan

Taiwan has recently embarked on one of the world’s most ambitious social-housing programmes, as detailed in a story published for our Social Housing Revival series.

Taipei studio Bio-architecture Formosana has been heavily involved, delivering seven social-housing projects already with an eighth on the horizon.

Body Lawson Associates, USA

Nigerian-born architect Victor Body-Lawson, whose eponymous studio delivers projects across the US as well as in Africa, specialises in low-cost housing.

“Over the years of practising, I have come to realise that the best tool for empowering people is through affordable housing,” he told Dezeen in a 2022 interview.

Find out more about Body Lawson Associates ›

Residents of the Sanjaynagar slum in new homesResidents of the Sanjaynagar slum in new homes
Photo by Rajesh Vora

Community Design Agency, India

Established with seed funding from the foundation of US architect Cliff Curry and archaeologist Delight Stone, Community Design Agency is a Mumbai-based architecture practice focused on delivering projects for those in greatest need.

It prioritises working closely with marginalised communities, such as at a government-funded project to deliver 298 homes in vibrant apartment blocks for people who previously lived in slum conditions in Ahmednagar (pictured).

Social housing by Comunal Taller de ArquitecturaSocial housing by Comunal Taller de Arquitectura
Photo by Onnis Luque

Comunal Taller de Arquitectura, Mexico

Comunal Taller de Arquitectura spent years developing a prototype for rural social housing that Mexico’s indigenous communities are able to build themselves using local available bamboo (pictured).

In 2018, its design was approved to receive federal subsidies Mexico’s National Housing Commission, enabling it to be rolled out across the state of Puebla.

Tahanan housing by David Baker ArchitectsTahanan housing by David Baker Architects
Photo by Bruce Damonte

David Baker Architects, USA

Bay Area studio David Baker Architects is one of the most prominent designers of affordable housing on the American West Coast, and has distilled its philosophy into nine key principles.

Its projects include Tahanan (pictured), a modular block clad in weathering steel that provides supported housing to people who were previously homeless.

Find out more about David Baker Architects ›

De Architekten Cie, the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a European leader in social housing, with the tenure accounting for nearly a third of its overall housing stock.

Under the influence of former partner Frits van Dongen, De Architekten Cie gained a strong reputation for housing in the 1990s and 2000s. Its more recent projects include a vast 1,363-home complex in Seoul for the Korea Land and Housing Corporation.

Quinta Monroy Housing, Iquique, 2004. Photograph by Cristobal PalmaQuinta Monroy Housing, Iquique, 2004. Photograph by Cristobal Palma
Photo by Cristobal Palma

Elemental, Chile

Chilean studio Elemental gained global recognition for its first project, Quinta Monroy, which completed in 2004 and delivered 93 low-cost houses for the people of Iquique.

Its founder, Alejandra Aravena, won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2016 and that year open-sourced many of the firm’s designs for what it calls “incremental” housing, where governments fund the construction of a basic residential structure that residents can complete as they are able.

Find out more about Elemental ›

Punggol Waterway Terrace housing in Singapore by G8APunggol Waterway Terrace housing in Singapore by G8A
Photo by Patrick Bingham-Hall

G8A Architects, Switzerland

G8A Architects was founded in Geneva in 2000 by Manuel Der Hagopian and Grégoire Du Pasquier, but has become an influential force in public housing in south-east Asia since opening an office in Hanoi in 2007.

It gained significant recognition in the region after its Punggol Waterway Terraces project (pictured), completed in 2015 for Singapore’s Housing and Development Board, set a new bar for social cohesion and low-energy living in mass housing.

Gus Wüstemann Architects, Switzerland

Swiss architect Gus Wüstemann founded his studio in 1997, with offices in Zurich and Barcelona.

It is known for combining simple aesthetics with an ethically conscious approach, most notably at its brutalist Langgrütstrasse affordable-housing complex completed in 2020. Wüstemann also served as an advisor to Barcelona’s housing-focused former mayor Ada Colau.

Find out more about Gus Wüstemann Architects ›

Hannunkari & Mäkipaja, Finland

Helsinki-based studio Hannunkari & Mäkipaja specialises in housing.

It has completed more than 70 residential apartment buildings, including projects for various Finnish city governments.

Hackney New Primary School and 333 Kingsland Road by Henley HalebrownHackney New Primary School and 333 Kingsland Road by Henley Halebrown
Photo by Nick Kane

Henley Halebrown, UK

Established in 1995, Hackney-based Henley Halebrown has completed several notable housing projects, including London’s first co-housing project in 2014.

In 2022, the studio won the Neave Brown Award for Housing for the red-brick 333 Kingsland Road (pictured).

Find out more about Henley Halebrown ›

Henriquez Partners Architects, Canada

Founded in 1969 by Richard Henriquez and now led by his son Gregory, mid-sized architecture studio Henriquez Partners maintains a strong focus on social justice.

It has delivered a string of social housing projects, including a landmark redevelopment of Vancouver’s Woodwards department store and a major new co-op housing development.

IBAVI, Spain

Not an architecture studio but a public housing authority that employs in-house architects, the Balearic Social Housing Institute (IBAVI) earns a place on this list thanks to its experiments in sustainable social housing.

Its projects include a programme to build 250 dwellings in Mallorca from locally quarried stone and a pilot scheme that saw it use seagrass as an insulation material on Formentera, which was featured as a Social Housing Revival case study.

Jirau Arquitetura, Brazil

Founded in 2010, residential specialist Jirau Arquitetura is based in the Brazilian city of Caruaru.

Its distinctive colourful, small-scale social housing projects include Novo Jardim Townhouses, completed in 2016.

Kings Crescent by Karakusevic Carson ArchitectsKings Crescent by Karakusevic Carson Architects
Photo by Pete Landers

Karakusevic Carson Architects, UK

London studio Karakusevic Carson Architects has emerged as a leading voice in the calls for a UK social housing revival.

As well as multiple built projects it has undertaken extensive research on the topic, even publishing a guide for social landlords on retrofitting old stock.

Find out more about Karakusevic Carson Architects ›

Kennedy Nolan Architects, Australia

Founded in Melbourne in 1999, Kennedy Nolan Architects was established to deliver small residential projects but has since diversified, becoming a leading name in affordable-housing design in Australia.

Its projects include the playful, ochre-tinted block Leftfield, completed in 2023.

Find out more about Kennedy Nolan Architects ›

Kevin Daly Architects, USA

Founded in 1990 by Kevin Daly, Kevin Daly Architects has a presence on both US coasts. It has completed several low-rise housing projects, including a playful community housing scheme in Santa Monica.

The studio was recommended for this list by Sam Naylor, co-editor of the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies’ recently published book, The State of Housing Design 2023.

Find out more about Kevin Daly Architects ›

EU Mies Award 2019 winner Transformation of 530 dwellings, by Frédéric Druot Architecture, Lacaton & Vassal Architectes and Christophe Hutin ArchitectureEU Mies Award 2019 winner Transformation of 530 dwellings, by Frédéric Druot Architecture, Lacaton & Vassal Architectes and Christophe Hutin Architecture
Photo by Philippe Ruault

Lacaton & Vassal Architectes, France

The highly decorated Lacaton & Vassal Architectes is one of France’s best-known architecture studios, associated particularly with renovation projects.

In 2021, studio founders Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal were awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize for their work on social housing, such as its generous revamp of three 1960s blocks in Grand Parc Bordeaux (pictured).

Find out more about Lacaton & Vassal Architectes ›

Lacol, Spain

Architecture collective Lacol has taken on a leading role in Barcelona’s new wave of social housing delivered since 2015, with a particular focus on co-housing.

The group spoke to Dezeen about its projects as part of a profile on the Catalan city’s housing movement.

Find out more about Lacol ›

MLK1101 Supportive Housing by LOHAMLK1101 Supportive Housing by LOHA
Photo by Paul Vu


Founded in 1994, Los Angeles firm Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA) is among America’s most prominent socially conscious architecture studios.

Its projects include supported housing in South LA with a sloping green roof (pictured). Studio founder, Irish-born architect Lorcan O’Herlihy, has also written about possible solutions to deliver more affordable housing in the US.

Find out more about LOHA ›

Key Worker Housing by Mecanoo for University of Cambridge, UKKey Worker Housing by Mecanoo for University of Cambridge, UK
Photo by Greg Holmes

Mecanoo, the Netherlands

Prolific Dutch firm Mecanoo was founded in 1984 and is led by France Houben.

Among several high-profile projects it has designed plenty of housing in the Netherlands and beyond, including key-worker housing for University of Cambridge staff (pictured) and a recently completed scheme in Taiwan.

Find out more about Mecanoo ›

Goldsmith Street by Mikhail RichesGoldsmith Street by Mikhail RichesGoldsmith Street by Mikhail RichesGoldsmith Street by Mikhail Riches
Photo by Tim Crocker

Mikhail Riches, UK

London studio Mikhail Riches shot to architectural fame after Goldsmith Street, its development of 105 Passivhaus council homes in Norwich, was awarded the Stirling Prize in 2019.

In a recent interview with Dezeen, studio co-founder Annalie Riches said she set out in her career to dispel the idea that architects “can’t do housing”.

Find out more about Mikhail Riches ›

Project B52 by Nerma LinsbergerProject B52 by Nerma Linsberger
Photo by Andreas Buchberger

Nerma Linsberger, Austria

Sarajevo-born architect Nerma Linsberger founded her eponymous studio in Vienna in 2010 and it has since emerged from a crowded field as one of the city’s leading names in social-housing design, with a particular focus on sustainability.

Notable projects include the metallic B53 (pictured) and the award-winning M-Grund.

26 Social Housing by Odile and Guzy Architectes26 Social Housing by Odile and Guzy Architectes
Photo by David Foessel

Odile + Guzy Architectes, France

Since being founded in 2009, Parisian studio Odile + Guzy Architectes has been particularly active in designing apartment blocks.

Its social-housing projects include a timber-clad scheme in Chalon-sur-Saône (pictured), an example of its increasing use of wood in architecture.

Find out more about Odile + Guzy Architectes ›

Bastion Community housing complex in New Orleans by Office Of Jonathan TateBastion Community housing complex in New Orleans by Office Of Jonathan Tate
Photo by William Crocker


Established in 2011, New Orleans studio Office of Jonathan Tate (OJT) specialises in affordable housing, particularly through its Starter Home programme.

It is known for playing with conventional housing types in its designs, such as at the Bastion Community development of veterans’ homes (pictured), which adapted the single-family house vernacular of the area to foster greater social cohesion.

Find out more about OJT ›

ONV Arkitekter, Denmark

Recommended for inclusion on this list by the Danish Architecture Center (DAC), ONV Arkitekter has delivered nearly 1,300 affordable homes through its AlmenBolig + modular building system.

Developed in partnership with fellow Copenhagen studio JAJA Architects, the concept enables residents to customise their homes.

Paul Keogh Architects, Ireland

Paul Keogh Architects was founded in 1984. With Ireland seeking to increase its supply of social housing amid an acute housing-affordability crisis, the studio has been working on projects for councils across the country for two decades.

It recently completed Cornamona Court, a development of 61 homes for Dublin City Council and one of Ireland’s largest council-housing projects.

McGrath Road by Peter BarberMcGrath Road by Peter Barber
Photo by Morley Von Sternberg

Peter Barber Architects, UK

Peter Barber is possibly the most famous designer of council housing working in the UK today, winning the Soane Medal in 2022.

His London studio has delivered projects for multiple local authorities in the capital, including McGrath Road in Newham (pictured), which took the Neave Brown Award for Housing in 2021.

Find out more about Peter Barber Architects ›

RipollTizon, Spain

RipollTizon was established in 2002 by Pep Ripoll and Juan Miguel Tizón and has offices in Castellón and Palma de Mallorca.

It has designed several social-housing projects in the Balearic islands that look more like luxury holiday apartments, including a recently completed block in Ibiza decorated with colourful tiles.

Find out more about RipollTizon ›

Savage + Dodd Architects, South Africa

Johannesburg studio Savage + Dodd Architects has emerged as a leading designer of low-cost housing in South Africa over the past two decades, specialising particularly in the adaptive reuse of existing buildings.

Its recent Slava Village project, which transformed a former shopping centre into 50 homes, was featured as a Social Housing Revival case study.

Coburg Townhouses by Schored ProjectsCoburg Townhouses by Schored Projects
Photo by Tanja Milbourne

Schored Projects, Australia

Schored Projects is an architecture studio specialising in social housing with offices in Melbourne and Sydney. Its projects include seven secure, affordable homes for women in the form of townhouses (pictured).

Studio director Sophie Dyring was featured in the recent 100 Women Architects in Practice book. She is also the co-author of a design guide for older women’s housing.

Sergio Pascolo Architects, Italy

Sergio Pascolo Architects is based in Venice, but the studio has done extensive work on social housing in the German town of Göttingen.

It has completed several housing complexes in the area, using its Total Housing prefabricated building concept that prioritises fostering multi-generational communities.

Nordbahnhof housing in Vienna by Sergison BatesNordbahnhof housing in Vienna by Sergison Bates
Photo by Stefan Müller

Sergison Bates Architects, UK/Switzerland

Recommended for inclusion on this list by Claire Bennie, director of housing design consultancy Municipal, Sergison Bates Architects has presences in both London and Zurich.

The studio has a long track record of innovative housing in projects across Europe – from self-build housing in the UK completed in 1998 to the demure Nordbahnhof in Vienna (pictured).

Find out more about Sergison Bates Architects ›

Siven & Takala, Finland

Founded in 1983 and led by Kirsti Sivén and Asko Takala, Siven & Takala describes itself as placing particular emphasis on designing durable buildings.

It has contributed a large number of projects to Finland’s housing landscape, including several schemes for older people.

Trudo vertical forest is wrapped in plants and treesTrudo vertical forest is wrapped in plants and trees
Photography by Norbert van Onna

Stefano Boeri Architetti, Italy

Italian architect Stefano Boeri and his eponymous studio are best known for their “vertical forests” – residential towers covered in trees.

In 2021, the studio completed the Trudo Vertical Forest in Eindoven (pictured), a 70-metre social-housing block bearing more than 10,000 plants.

Find out more about Stefano Boeri Architetti ›

Taller de Arquitectura X, Mexico

Taller de Arquitectura X is the studio of Alberto Kalach. In 2014 it developed a concept for low-rise, high-density social housing that could work in Mexican cities.

The design was picked up by a social-housing provider and realised in the city of Hermosillo, with 179 low-energy, single-family houses occupying a site that would typically only fit 90 dwellings.

Find out more about Taller de Arquitectura X ›

Zwei Plus intergenerational housing in Vienna by Trans_cityZwei Plus intergenerational housing in Vienna by Trans_city
Photo by Herta Hurnhaus

Trans_city, Austria

Trans_city is another Viennese studio with a strong track record of delivering social housing.

Founded by American architect Mark Gilbert and Austrian architect Christian Aulinger, its projects include Zwei+Plus, an estate of 140 intergenerational social homes completed in 2016 (pictured).

SOS Children's Village by Urko Sanchez ArchitectsSOS Children's Village by Urko Sanchez Architects
Photo by Javier Callejas

Urko Sanchez Architects, Kenya/Spain

Nairobi and Madrid-based Urko Sanchez Architects, founded by Spanish architect Urko Sanchez, has completed residential projects across Africa.

It received plaudits for its 2014 project for SOS Children’s Villages International to provide housing for vulnerable children in Djibouti (pictured).

Find out more about Urko Sanchez Architects ›

Lisbjerg Hill social housing by VandkunstenLisbjerg Hill social housing by Vandkunsten
Photo by Mirjam Hallin

Vandkunsten, Denmark

Also recommended by DAC, Copenhagen studio Vandkunsten has been designing high-density, low-rise social housing since the 1970s.

Its more recent projects include Social Housing on Lisbjerg Hill (pictured), an estate of 40 timber homes in Aarhus completed in 2018, and a research project aimed at creating the world’s first fully circular social housing.

Find out more about Vandkunsten ›

WOHA, Singapore

Singapore has among the highest proportions of publicly-owned housing of any country in the world, though unusually, most of it is developed for ownership.

Established in 1994, WOHA is currently one of the most significant contributors to the programme, with projects including SkyVille @ Dawson, a 960-home estate topped by a public roof park, and Kampung Admiralty, which provides affordable housing for older people.

Find out more about WOHA ›

Aspern H4 Vienna social housing WUP ArchitekturAspern H4 Vienna social housing WUP Architektur
Photo by Luiza Puiu

WUP Architektur, Austria

Finally, the fourth Viennese studio on the list is WUP Architektur. Founded in 2014 as a successor to Office Helmut Wimmer, it is among the most prolific contributors to the city’s active social-housing scene.

Its projects include the recently completed Aspern H4, a colourful block of 74 apartments that all have large balconies and sliding walls to enable residents to change the floorplan of their homes.

Social Housing Revival artwork by Jack BedfordSocial Housing Revival artwork by Jack Bedford
Illustration by Jack Bedford

Social Housing Revival

This article is part of Dezeen’s Social Housing Revival series exploring the new wave of quality social housing being built around the world, and asking whether a return to social house-building at scale can help solve affordability issues and homelessness in our major cities.

Sign in
Cart (0)

No products in the cart. No products in the cart.


error: Content is protected !!