Airbnb has just announced a new initiative called Backyard, where it will be looking at new ways in which homes can be designed, built, and shared. They are, in a broad sense, becoming architects.
The initiative has been in the prototyping phase for some time now, but the plan is to put forward some sort of product in 2019. Despite the name, the initiative won’t just be focused on small backyard cottages or accessory dwelling units.
Here is an excerpt from Fast Company:
“Backyard investigates how buildings could utilize sophisticated manufacturing techniques, smart-home technologies, and gains vast insight from the Airbnb community to thoughtfully respond to changing owner or occupant needs over time,” Gebbia says. “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.”
This is yet another example of tech and real estate coming together. But as I’ve mentioned before on the blog, I think eventually we’ll stop making that distinction; it will just become the way in which we build companies.