The National Building Museum has earned a reputation in recent years for presenting some fun yet thought-provoking displays like the Hive exhibit of paper tubes and the Beach exhibit of thousands of plastic balls.

Those summer-fun installations have given way to Making Room: Housing for a Changing America, an exhibit that highlights innovative solutions for meeting housing needs.

A central part of the installation is the Open House, a 1,000-square-foot house built in the exhibition galleries that was designed by Italian architect Pierluigi Colombo and Clei, a designer of transformable furniture. The house includes moveable walls, smart-home technology and multifunctional furniture from Clei and Resource Furniture. The Open House will be transformed twice during the duration of the exhibit to show how the flexible space can accommodate roommates, a retired couple or an extended family.

The exhibit, organized with the Citizens Housing & Planning Council and presented in partnership with Resource Furniture and Clei, looks at how American households have changed and how housing can adapt to those changes.

One-third of households are single adults who live alone. At the same time, the number of people who live with roommates or extended family is also rising. In addition to the Open House, the exhibit will showcase shared housing in the District, micro-units in New York, accessory cottages in Seattle, tiny houses and cohousing communities.

The exhibition runs through Sept. 16 at the National Building Museum. For more information, visit

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