Part of the Solution: Yes to ADU

Part of the Solution: YES to ADU stems from the Department of Arts and Culture's Civic Art Program’s work in partnership with the Homeless Initiative on the Second Dwelling Units Pilot Program to support the development of granny flats, also called Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) as one of the solutions for affordable housing.

The project, which was also supported by the LA County Department of Regional Planning, the Community Development Commission/Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles, and the LA County Department of Public Works, catalyzed the County’s architects, designers, planners, and creative strategists to reimagine the potential of Accessory Dwelling Units as one of the strategies to help alleviate LA County’s housing pressure by means of an architectural design competition called Part of the Solution: YES to ADU. Concurrently, undergraduate studios at East Los Angeles College, USC, and Woodbury University integrated the competition into their curriculum.

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 Managing Director of Frieze LA Bettina Korek, and other leaders of design and civic life. The competition yielded a tangible index of possibilities and concepts from experienced practitioners to students, a selection of which were exhibited in a year of community events and workshops with diverse partnering organizations including East Los Angeles College; the Institute for Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the LA Forum for Architecture and Urban Design; Open Engagement, Queens Museum, NY; and the Utah Housing Coalition.

Resource Publication

The resource publication called Part of the Solution: YES to ADU, features concepts for ADUs presented by emerging and established leaders in design and architecture. This publication, which can also be found in all County libraries, is designed to raise awareness about ADUs, stimulate constructive dialogue, and serve as a resource for planners, policy-makers, homeowners, advocates, and communities.

Part of the Solution: YES to ADU is a powerful example of cross-sector collaboration in confronting our pressing County challenge of homelessness. 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. —LA County Homeless Initiative Director Phil Ansell.


The Resource Publication was designed by Place & Page. Writer and architecture critic Mimi Zeiger provided didactic essays which explore some of themes brought forth in the design competition submissions. And award-winning graphic designer Louise Sandhaus created a graphic identity for the project that represents the Department of Artsa nd Culture's collaboration with the Homeless Initiative.

Part of the Solution: Yes to ADU

Select Workshops

Graphic Identity for Yes to ADU by Louise Sandhaus


Want to Build your Own ADU?

To learn more about ADU requirements in the unincorporated areas of LA County, please visit To learn about specific ADU requirements in your city, please contact your local planning or building department.

The LA County Department of Arts and Culture would like to thank our community partner, Bustler for supporting the ADU project.

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 LA County. The jury selected one First Prize awardee ($12,000), two Second Prize awardees ($6,000), and two Honorable Mentions.

This unique collaboration of the Department of Arts and Culture 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. The jury and I were inspired by all of the submissions, and I continue to be excited by the potential outlined in 'YES to ADUM' and what it means for future design and planning efforts nationwide. —Dana Cuff Director of cityLAB-UCLA, and Professor of Architecture and Urban Design.

Design Competition Awardees

First Place


Lilliana Castro, Alan Guillen, Cheuk Nam Chapman Yu

Our idea is rooted in creating a borderless community which can be achieved by the elimination of border fences and/or walls, in such a way that openness of shared land and space form the foundation for a sustainable community hub.

Learn More

Second Place


Esther Ho

Barcode House is an ADU Prototype for modular and adaptable live-work environments. It consists of a series of prefabricated base modules necessary for living and working. These modules can be arranged in any manner that is best suited for a particular use.

Learn More


Simon Storey

There really are an infinite variety of combinations. [Depicted] are just twelve possibilities out of a possible 320 trillion ways to combine accessories, and make a unique statement.

Learn More

Honorable Mention


Jones, Partners: Architecture

The [shipping] container's simple form and noble proportions are the natural end product of years of refinement in the harshest physical and economic environments.

Learn More


Bureau Spectacular

Somewhere between an urban plan of a small city, or an oversize superblock full of rooms, this proposal is more than just a housing solution—it sets the stage for a semi-public landscape.

Learn More

The Jury

The Design Competition Jury was made up of a diverse group of architects, educators, and housing experts.

Dana Cuff
Director, City Lab, UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design
Milton Curry
Dean, USC School of Architecture
Renee Dake Wilson
Principal, Dake Wilson Architects; VP, City of Los Angeles Planning Commission
Hsinming Fung
Principal, Hodgetts + Fung: Director of International Programs, SCI-Arc
Bettina Korek
Founder, ForYourArt; Arts Commissioner
Christoph Korner
Cofounder GRAFT; Chair Interior Architecture, Woodbury University
Brenda Levin
Principal, Levin & Associates Architects
Jon Sanabria
Deputy Director, LA County Department of Regional Planning
Geoffrey Siebens
Assistant Director, LA County Community Development Commission
View on Issuu

View a digital version of this publication on

Download the Resource Publication

A PDF which can be printed from a standard copier in an 11X17 format.