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UCLA’s cityLAB in collaboration with Kevin Daly Architects has built an ultra-modern, lightweight cottage that could not only meet the current demand for 100,000 additional housing units in Los Angeles, but could also address critical environmental concerns. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has called for building 100,000 additional housing units in the city. There are close to 500,000 backyards in Los Angeles, and cityLAB has found that around 100,000 of those backyards can host a small backyard home. The low-cost, low-impact BI(h)OME could serve as housing for an elderly parent, a returning college graduate, or a rental unit. The BI(h)OME represents design innovation that integrates sophisticated as well as low-end technologies. It is designed to be easy to install, easy to remove, and readily recyclable. Rather than requiring a mortgage, it could be leased like a car so it does not need to be permanent. It can flexibly serve the needs of homeowners for as long as they want and then be removed. The environmental impact of the structure over its entire life cycle is between 10 and 100 times less than a conventional auxiliary dwelling. These efficiencies come primarily from its lightness as it weighs about 8 pounds per square foot.
The BI(h)OME frame and skin can be configured in different ways to fit a range of backyards and households. The demonstration version at UCLA, while smaller than a two-car garage, shows just how spacious a 350 square foot dwelling feels. Living with less space, less water, and less energy is part of the ultimate goal of the BI(h)OME. When installed in a complete form, the BI(h)OME would catch the sun via photovoltaic cells that can be printed on the outside layer of the BI(h)OME’s skin as well as contain a biodegradable toilet and a gray water system. The wooden end walls could host an edible garden as well as habitats for other species living in our backyards like birds and butterflies.
The luminous, energy-and-water-efficient, multi-species BI(h)OME is the result of fruitful collaboration between students and faculty at UCLA. It is one prong of the university’s Sustainable Los Angeles Grand Challenge. For a complete list of project team members, see below. For more details, please explore the rest of the website or feel free to contact us via the Contact tab. For previously written articles on the BI(h)OME, please refer to the News tab. The BI(h)OME debuted at UCLA’s Broad Arts Center Courtyard on June 10, 2015 and will remain on display throughout the summer.
cityLAB-UCLA, Dana Cuff
Kevin Daly Architects, Kevin Daly
Winter Quarter Students
Sarah Sibohan Johnson
AUD Student Team
Carlos Grande; contractor
Therese Kelly; landscape, LA Urban Ranger
UCLA Faculty and Staff