“The Canopy,” a net-zero modular housing concept designed by LEVER and Los Angeles-based developer Urbanworks received an honorable mention in the international design competition, Low-Rise: Housing Ideas for Los Angeles.
More than 380 teams from around the world submitted proposals to the competition which asked designers to imagine appealing and sustainable new models of low-rise, multi-unit housing. Organized by the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti and Christopher Hawthorne, the Chief Design Officer for the City of Los Angeles, the competition is part of a larger research initiative towards new paths to homeownership and housing affordability in Los Angeles.
Rather than creating one site-specific design, LEVER and Urbanworks developed a modular system made from prefab mass timber components that can be adapted for multiple sites and configurations. The system, which is a factory-built, modular, scalable, and reconfigurable kit of parts, can be used by developers and property-owners alike to quickly turn a site into a multi-home residence. Inspired by the regional precedents of bungalows and Irving Gill’s garden apartments, the design is organized around a shared courtyard surrounded by a mix of unit sizes which allow singles, couples, families, and seniors to cohabitate and “age-through” the complex over time. The design brings the life of the street into an urban residential space and provides equitable access to the elements that make living in Los Angeles possible—water, power, and shade.