Low-Rise: Housing Ideas for
Los Angeles Submission

Low-Rise: Housing Ideas for Los Angeles was a design challenge that asked architects and landscape architects to help the City of Los Angeles imagine appealing and sustainable new models of low-rise, multi-unit housing. The Low-Rise Competition presented an opportunity to re-think the city’s traditional approach to housing and forge a new way to build low rise homes in Los Angeles. NCA Studio participated in this challenge and had a lot of fun creating an idea for sustainable, healthy, community based living in LA.

Small spaces with no outdoor space, limited windows, and long dark corridors built with the minimum to meet the requirements of shelter and budget. This is what comes to mind when hearing the word housing. Missing is home, health, community, sustainability and all the other elements that make quality living spaces worth living in and investing in for the long term. We know that these concepts do not have to be separate, and buildings can elevate mood, health, perceived equality, reduce energy usage, increase the connection with the environment and increase the sense of community. The Low-Rise Competition presents an opportunity to re-think this approach and forge a new way to build low rise homes in Los Angeles.

Our design bridges these divergent concepts to build homes that benefit the community as soon as construction is completed and will add to any person’s quality of life upon move in. It provides more than simple shelter but a home base where Angelenos can start their days, lives, and families with health, community, sustainability, and economy.

This entry provides a starting point or set of building blocks for developers to use when planning a new site. By creating three separate unit plans (a loft, one bedroom plus loft and two-bedroom plan) and a set of design principals, the design can be easily replicated as shown or modified to fit other low-rise sites in Los Angeles. The bar and “L” shaped units can be re-configured on the site and quantities can be changed for different sites while maintaining the goals of health, community, sustainability and economy.

Instead of designing for specific groups or locations, we focused on incorporating design elements that were repeated in the interviews and are commonly accepted as healthy spaces across ages and cultures. By establishing a new baseline for housing that incorporates these design elements, it will attract Angelenos looking for healthy living across all ages, genders and cultures. Housing with universal appeal to invite a diverse community.