As a city already known for its enviable variety of housing (whether a mid century modern mansion or a Spanish hacienda style house with delicious garden – Los Angeles has recently unveiled a new construction initiative that will allow homeowners to get even more bang for their buck through home improvements. Known as the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Standard Plan Program, the initiative features 20 pre-approved designs for ADUs, which are secondary habitable structures that can be added to the same property, enabling the planning and construction procurement process. Approval from the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety will be expedited and simplified.
“This program aims to make ADUs more accessible, more affordable and more beautiful, and make them part of the plan of our efforts to address our housing crisis and create more affordable communities throughout the city,” said the mayor of the city. city, Eric Garcetti, when announcing the program, which has been in development for a year and seven months in the pilot phase.
Currently featuring the work of 14 architecture firms, including Why Architecture, So-Il and Jennifer Bonner/Mall, the pre-approved designs offer homeowners flexible designs that will work with properties in residential zones, consumer protection from contractor abusers, a reduction in the cost of the overall permitting process, as well as access to architectural firms that have been pre-approved. The plan verification review process for these home improvements is also reduced from 4 to 6 weeks to just one day.
“The Standard Plan Program will dramatically streamline the process for homeowners to select and obtain approval of an ADU design from LADBS, while supporting the work of Los Angeles architects and expanding the rich tradition of innovation in architecture residential area,” says Christopher Hawthorne, design director for the city of Los Angeles. “The ADU plans available at launch include contributions from some of the most talented architecture and design firms working in Los Angeles and across the country, and we look forward to seeing new designs added to the mix.”
Since state laws were updated in 2017 to make it easier to build ADUs, these free-standing structures now account for 22% of newly permitted housing units. ADU Standard Plan Program designs are designed with a variety of homeowner needs in mind and range from small studios to two-story designs. The creative approaches on display are also wonderfully varied; Jennifer Bonner’s ‘Lean-To ADU’ combines facets of the utilitarian shed with two Los Angeles architectural mainstays: the stucco box and the exaggerated false front, while So-Il’s ‘Pebble House’ draws on the homes’ history of case studies from the region to Form its flower-shaped footprint that allows for natural cross ventilation while placing the necessary mechanical and humid spaces at its core.
Fung + Blatt Architects has designed a sleek, all-electric home that combines an L-shaped footprint with a series of staggered fences to provide privacy. Welcome Projects’ two-story Breadbox combines stucco and clay tiles to form a whimsical garden cabin, accompanied by a variety of porch and window options that can be configured to suit specific backyard conditions.
With the program open to architects, contractors and companies that can meet its basic criteria, the first range of designs is simply a taste of what’s in store for homeowners in Los Angeles. For anyone thinking about looking for that home office, a wellness or creative studio, a place to host family, now is certainly the time to make home improvements.