Airbnb Isn’t Just for Vacation Rentals Anymore. It Plans to Design Homes Too

November 30, 2018, 9:13 PM UTC

Airbnb is expanding from helping people rent their homes to actually designing them.

The company announced a new initiative this week called Backyard, “an endeavor to design and prototype new ways of building and sharing homes,” Fast Company reports.

The first wave of test units are expected to be finished next year.

As for what those units might look like, Airbnb hasn’t shared any specifics except to say that they will be designed with the idea of being a rented shared space. They’ll also be adaptable so that the floorplan can be adjusted based on an occupant’s needs.

For instance, the home may be able to add or subtract bedrooms on the fly by moving robotic walls. So for one renter a space might be a 1-bedroom, while for another it might have two or three dedicated bedrooms.

Airbnb has grown to become a go-to source for vacation housing worldwide. The company still routinely runs into hurdles as cities and countries consider how to regulate the business and its impact on local housing and hotels.

Last month, Ireland announced plans for new regulations for short-term housing rentals in light of the country’s growing shortage of affordable housing. Berlin, Barcelona, and Paris have all passed similar measures.