Housing Ideas for Los Angeles design challenge

The results are in: Launched last November, the Low-Rise: Housing Ideas for Los Angeles design

The results are in: Launched last November, the Low-Rise: Housing Ideas for Los Angeles design challenge, a free-to-enter ideas competition organized by the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Chief Design Officer for the City of Los Angeles, Christopher Hawthorne, now has a roster of winning concepts. As previously detailed, the challenge invited architects and landscape architects to envision progressive models of low-rise, multifamily housing in America’s second-most populous city with an emphasis on affordability, sustainability, and “confronting historical patterns of racial and environmental injustice in housing policy in Southern California.”

The first-, second-, and third-place winners stretch across four unique and mostly self-explanatory categories as outlined in the competition brief: Corners, Fourplex, Subdivision, and (Re)Distribution, a category in which participants were invited to choose an iconic L.A. home from a provided list and divide it into four housing units. The winning entries were selected from a pool of 380 submissions from around the world. Per a press announcement revealing the winners, 7 of the 12 top submissions were from teams hailing from Southern California while the remainder of the 5 top slots went to teams from New York City (two), the United Kingdom (two), and Austin, Texas (one).

An additional 23 submissions received Honorable Mention citations from the jury; 11 of these teams were composed of members from Southern California. In total, 18 of the 35 recognized submissions—the 12 winners and 23 honorable mentions—came from Southern California-based teams.

The quartet of first-place winners in each category will receive a cash award of $10,000 while the second and third place winners in each category will receive awards of $3,500 and $1,500, respectively. Support for Low-Rise: Housing Ideas for Los Angeles, a project initiated as part of a larger research undertaking spearheaded by the Mayor’s Office of Budget and Innovation, was provided by the James Irvine Foundation, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Citi, and the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles.

The full list of awardees including the members of each respective team can be found below with links to each winning submission. The Low-Rise website also lists the honorable mention-granted submissions within each category. A full list of the 28 jurors—7 for each category—can be found here. (Jeanne Gang, Deborah Berke, Tatiana Bilbao, and Jason Foster, president and COO of Destination Crenshaw, were among the jurors, to name just a few.)

Over the next several months, the Low-Rise organizers will coordinate and announce a series of “re-engagement sessions” aimed at gleaning feedback on the winning submissions from community partners as well as architects, planners, and affordable housing developers. As detailed in the announcement, competition organizers will “then work with our colleagues at City Hall to incorporate the most compelling and feasible ideas from the design challenge into updates to our affordable-housing, zoning, and land-use policies,” with the “hope that these winning designs, with their focus on community amenity and self-determination, will set the stage for a more productive and less polarized conversation about the future of our low-rise neighborhoods.”

Without further ado, the Low-Rise winners:

Corners Category

California Branch House, the winning submission from Vonn Weisenberger in the Corners category. (Vonn Weisenberger/Courtesy City of Los Angeles)

First Place

Vonn Weisenberger | Brooklyn, New York
(Vonn Weisenberger)
View submission here

Second Place

Studio TAAP | Austin, Texas
(Amaya Lucas, Anna Lake-Smith, Patrick Till, Trent Tunks)
View submission here

Third Place

Kevin Daly Architects | Los Angeles
(Kevin Daly, Ciro Dimson, Jeff Rauch, Courtney Gibbs, Connor Verteramo)
View submission here

Fourplex Category

illustration of a man looking out into a shared courtyard from a porch
Hidden Gardens, Omgivning and Studio-MLA’s winning submission in the Fourplex category. (Omgivning and Studio-MLA/Courtesy City of Los Angeles)

First Place

Omgivning and Studio-MLA | Los Angeles
(Albert Escobar, Shahr Razi, and Taylor Carlin with Omgivning; Amy Kalpin and Ian Miller with Studio-MLA)
View submission here

Second Place

Bestor Architecture | Los Angeles
(Bestor Architecture, SALT Landscape Architects, Arup)
View submission here

Third Place

Danielian Associates and Urban Arena | Irvine, California
(Danielian Associates and Urban Arena)
View submission here

(Re)Distribution Category

elevation drawing of a modernist home
Modern Subsistence, Arts and Creatives Designs Ltd’s (Re)Distribution category-winning reimagining of Rudolph Schindler’s Kings Road House. (Arts and Creatives Designs Ltd/Courtesy City of Los Angeles)

First Place

Arts and Creatives Designs Ltd | Banstead, U.K.
(Sonda Mvula, Lola Tartakover, Chandni Rakhra, Sameera S. Rauf, Verity Roweth)
View submission here

Second Place

Henry Aldridge | Kent, U.K.
(Henry Aldridge)
View submission here

Third Place 

ROART | New York, New York
(Ran Oron, Tara Hagan, Ajin Ryu, Danny Hudson, Jeff Evans)
View submission here

Subdivision Category

illustration of housing centered around a dynamic public alley
The Subdivision category-winning Green Alley Housing concept. (Green Alley Housing/Courtesy City of Los Angeles)

First Place

Green Alley Housing | Los Angeles
(Louisa Van Leer, Louisa Van Leer Architecture; Antonio Castillo, urban planner; Garen Yolles, urban planner; Aang Castillo, Cal Poly Pomona College of Environmental Design, Department of Architecture; Galin Aghkyan, Cal Poly Pomona College of Environmental Design, Deptartment of Architecture; Don Chavez, Cal Poly Pomona College of Environmental Design, Department of Landscape Architecture)
View submission here

Second Place

Omgivning and Studio-MLA | Los Angeles
(Karin Liljegren and Albert Escobar with Omgivning; Dawn Dyer with Studio-MLA)
View submission here

Third Place

Elaine Kwong and Kristy Kwong | Los Angeles
Team Members: Elaine Kwong, architectural designer and urban designer; Kristy Kwong, sustainability engineer and building performance specialist)
View submission here