LA County Releases Open Source Affordable Housing Resource

LA County Releases Open Source Design Resource to Spur New Affordable Housing

Free Publication on Accessory Dwelling Units to Inspire New Housing Typology in the Effort to Combat and Prevent Homelessness

The Arts Commission, as a partner in the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative’s Second Dwelling Units Pilot Program, has published Part of the Solution: YES to ADU, an architectural design resource featuring concepts for ADUs developed by emerging and established leaders in design and architecture. The publication, which can be viewed and downloaded online at or found in all 85 County libraries across the region, is designed to raise awareness about ADUs, stimulate constructive dialogue, and serve as a resource for planners, policy-makers, homeowners, advocates and communities.

The resource publication showcases a range of proposals, from innovative building design to speculative site plans. Many focus on more than a design for a single project; they expand the notion of home and the American dream, exploring strategies to strengthen communities and sustain neighborhoods for future generations. LA County Libraries partnered to make the publication available to the general public through their collections countywide.

The arts allow us to reimagine the world around us and find innovative ideas for a range of civic issues, said Kristin Sakoda, Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. We were pleased to partner with the LA County Homeless Initiative and colleague agencies on this resource, which highlights submissions from emerging and established leaders in design. We look forward to seeing how these ideas spark positive change in housing, planning and the meaning of community for Angelenos in the years to come.

Part of the Solution: YES to ADU is a powerful example of cross-sector collaboration in confronting our pressing County challenge of homelessness, said LA County Homeless Initiative Director Phil Ansell. The arts and design community bring new perspectives on what is possible and achievable when we harness our collective, creative vision to become a part of the solution.

The project, which was also supported by the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning, Community Development Commission/Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles, and Department of Public Works, initiated with a design competition that yielded a tangible index of possibilities. In January 2018, a jury of architects, policy makers, educators and arts professionals reviewed the submitted design competition boards for site strategy, livability, innovation, buildability, adaptability, and concept communication. The nine jurors included UCLA cityLab Director Dana Cuff, USC School of Architecture Dean Milton Curry, Hodgetts + Fung Principal Hsinming Fung, Arts Commissioner and For Your Art Founder Bettina Korek, and other leaders of design and civic life.

This unique collaboration of the LA County Arts Commission with the Homeless Initiative has provided a new model for the design community to think outside-the-box and look at these issues from a broader perspective, said Dana Cuff Director of cityLAB-UCLA, and Professor of Architecture and Urban Design. The jury and I were inspired by all of the submissions, and I continue to be excited by the potential outlined in 'Yes to ADU' and what it means for future design and planning efforts nationwide.

Design submissions were received from respondents ranging from established architectural firms to college students, with at least one key member of the team required to reside, work, study, or teach in Los Angeles County. The jury selected one First Prize awardee ($12,000; two Second Prize awardees ($6,000), and two Honorable Mentions.

Design Competition Awardees:

  • First Place: Lilliana Castro, Alan Guillen, Cheuk Nam Yu
  • Second Place: Esther Ho
  • Second Place: Simon Storey
  • Honorable Mention: Jones, Partners: Architecture
  • Honorable Mention: Bureau Spectacular

Lilliana Castro of Archeffect collaborated with colleagues Alan Guillen and Cheuk Nam Yu on the first-place submission, and said, What got me excited about this competition was the ability to put forth a paradigm shift for creating borderless communities in Los Angeles, re-designing the urban fabric to be more communal and less individual. Our goal was to create a multi-scale approach responsive to the diverse lifestyle and needs of future inhabitants, while providing a unique neighborhood identity for the existing community. We look forward to collaborating with developers, home owners, policy makers and County officials to realize this system and vision.

To increase public awareness, the jury selected submissions for display throughout 2018 in eight free ADU events, hosted in collaboration with community partners including East Los Angeles College, the LA Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, and the ICA (Institute for Contemporary Art) Los Angeles.

Additionally, writer and architecture critic Mimi Zeiger, who co-curated the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale US pavilion, explored some of the themes brought forth in the proposals in didactic essays. Award-winning graphic designer Louise Sandhaus created a graphic identity for the project that represents the LA County Arts Commission’s collaboration with the Homeless Initiative.

To learn more about the Yes to ADU design competition and resource publication, visit Print from a standard copier in an 11X17 format.

About the Los Angeles County Arts Commission
The Los Angeles County Arts Commission fosters excellence, diversity, vitality, understanding and accessibility of the arts in Los Angeles County. The Commission provides leadership in cultural services for the County, encompassing 88 municipalities, including funding and job opportunities, professional development and general resources. In 2019 the Arts Commission is undergoing a dynamic transformation with the historic transition to the first LA County Department of Arts and Culture.

About the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative
The L.A. County Homeless Initiative, created by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, is charged with combating and preventing homelessness throughout the County. The Chief Executive Office/County Homeless Initiative provides oversight and hands-on guidance to deploy the infusion of funds from the landmark Measure H sales tax for services and programs and maximize the alignment and effectiveness of this unprecedented commitment. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook @CountyHomelessInitiative.