Los Angeles has a housing crisis with problems of affordable housing, density and homelessness. The region has fewer homes per capita than any other in the US and more than half of inhabitants are renters spending at least half their income on housing - This directly correlates with the rise in homelessness. This studio researched alternative housing solutions. The result not only proposed architectural and planning solutions but also a business model that could attract private investors or alternative associations and offer affordable housing solutions.
What is Microliving?
The culture of Micro living favors living in small, efficient and sustainable
dwellings that include only the basic home necessities. The idea of micro-living
is not new, especially in dense Asian cities, the trend has been fully embraced
to cope with the rise in prices, density and its potential for tackling economic
uncertainties. The trend is now also on the rise in European and US capitals but
still unknown and has yet to be adapted to western lifestyle.
Throughout the last few decades, Southern California has seen tremendous
population growth - even though the larger region is still growing, LA’s population
is shrinking due to a lack of available & affordable housing. Parallel statistics
also show that LA’s senior population is growing faster than any other age group
in the city. Working and living in the city will be redefined as new professions
emerge from the current digital age, but the pressures on our already strained
housing market and infrastructure are unlikely to diminish. Prices of new-build
housing is on the rise and the average worker will be able to afford less and
less sqm, ultimately needing to seek new ways of living. Whilst significant cost
is attributed to high land value, curious and effective ways of reducing costs
would be to design for smaller volumes to inhabit, cheaper ways of construction
and most radically, getting rid of the traditional notion that a home has to be
Age of Minimalism?
Current predictions suggest that the need to “own” something will lessen with the
rise of sharing economies - where things can be easily streamed, borrowed or
exchanged. This age of minimalism coupled with residents who prioritize living
in dense cities over spacious suburbs heightens the potential for micro-living to
diversify Los Angeles' housing offer deserves research and needs debate.
Longterm parking or new Nomadland?
Can the redesign of existing spontaneous solutions such as old trailer parks
reflect this new reality? Many of us are familiar with the traditional stereotypes:
rows of dilapidated white rectangles occupied by under-privileged users but
times have changed and the emphasis has shifted from mobility to affordability.
Can redesigned waste lands or parking lots provide attractive neighborhoods
for these manufactured and mobile homes? The goal of this studio includes
implementing the most innovative ideas of form that adapt to transform
underutilized sites into beacons of collaboration between construction and
design, sustainability and resiliency.
Initially focussed on creating a case study on a universal parking lot, rectangule
75x75m. Infrastructure was created to satisfy basic hygienic, social and living
needs. Living units (prototypes, microhousing, trailers etc...) plugged inside
these systems. The inspiration for creating comunity is the short documentary
video by Lance Oppenheim published in New York Times in 2016: Opinion |
Home Is Where the Parking Lot Is - The New York Times (nytimes.com)
Then students proposed specific site and programs either inside LA or
elsewhere. They related the study to mass migrations, climate refugees, rising
prices of home ownership everywhere...
The investigation was led by themes such as minimum standards, prefabrication
and speed of assembly/dismantling, interconnected construction and design,
and the use of different sustainably sourced materials. The intervention mixed
a continuous system of parks, new buildings, reuse of different structures -
interweaving landscape, urban design, social themes, temporary functions and
being able to host different events. It was grounded in the principles of Smart
city combed with thoughtful mobility plans, self-sufficiency and zero waste / netzero
Rok Oman, Špela Videčnik, Dami OlufowosheTutor
Ziwei Hou, Karis Wang, Tiffany Orozco, Cheng Zhang, Em Gan, Monica Roh,
Andrei Sharyshev, Marina Archangeli, Gibson Bastar, Hongye Wu
Kutan Ayata, Myrna Ayoub, Dana Cuff, Neil Denari, Mariana Ibañez, Hanif Kara,
Lance Oppenheim, Mohamed Sharif, Michael Webb
UCLA | Architecture and urban design
Fall Semester 2021
Architecture and Urban Design