Los Angeles Is Tackling Its Housing Crisis With These Chic Accessory Dwelling Units

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Kelly Corbett
·2 min read
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Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and LA Mas
Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and LA Mas

From House Beautiful

Los Angeles's housing crisis is far from over. However, a new program announced by Mayor Eric Garcetti and administered by the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) offers some hope, as well as some artful dwelling designs.

To better understand this new initiative, let's first define what an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is. According to the American Planning Association, an ADU is "a smaller, independent residential dwelling unit located on the same lot as a stand-alone (i.e., detached) single-family home." Think: guest houses, granny flats, a garage transformed into a living space. They've become more and common as the city continues to search and create more affordable housing solutions. ADUs currently comprise 22% of the city's newly-permitted housing units.

Being that ADUs are growing in popularity, the LADBS has found a way to streamline the permit process. Enter the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Standard Plan Program, which offers builders and homeowners a variety of pre-approved building plans, as noted in a press release.

Previously, homeowners would have to wait four to six weeks to have their ADU approved by the LADBS. Under this new program, which offers 20 pre-approved design options from 10 different firms, the wait time could be as little as one day. Not only will these designs simplify and expedite the overall permit process, but it offers homeowners direct access to architecture firms who have secured approved plans; and flexible designs that will work for most residentially zoned properties.

"Every day, Los Angeles and our residents tackle our greatest challenges with creativity, innovation, resilience, and an immeasurable can-do spirit," said Mayor Garcetti. "This program is about making ADUs more accessible, more affordable, and more beautiful — and making them part of the blueprint of our efforts to tackle our housing crunch and create more affordable communities citywide.”

These aren't your standard-issue backyard sheds, either: By bringing on a range of architecture firms, the program ensures a variety in high-design options. Let's take a peek at some of the architecture firms vetted for this program and the unique ADU designs they bring to the table.

Welcome Projects

Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and Welcome Projects
Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and Welcome Projects

Adobu

Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and Abodu
Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and Abodu

LA MAS

Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and LA Mas
Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and LA Mas

IT House

Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and IT House
Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and IT House

MALL

Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and MALL
Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and MALL

SO-IL

Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and SO-IL
Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and SO-IL

Fung + Blatt

Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and Fung + Blatt
Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and Fung + Blatt

EscherGuneWard

Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and EscherGuneWard
Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and EscherGuneWard

wHYArchitecture

Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and wHYArchitecture
Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and wHYArchitecture

DESIGN BITCHES

Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and DESIGN BITCHES
Photo credit: Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and DESIGN BITCHES

Want to see the rest of the approved designs? You can see the full list here.

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