The Los Angeles Affordable Housing Challenge ideas competition has presented its winning entries. Participants were challenged with designing "flexible" solutions to the city's ongoing housing crisis. Each concept design was submitted without limitations of site or scale and judged based on its practicality and aversion away from standard-fare notions of housing, design, and community.
This year's contest, the 16th iteration of Buildner's affordable housing competition series, was juried by an eight-member panel that included architects working in the LA market and on other housing projects elsewhere in the United States, joined by academics, policy experts, and other design professionals.
Each Prize winner received cash awards of €3,000, €1,500, and €1,300, respectively, for their designs, joined by the €500 Buildner Sustainability Award winner and six honorable mentions. The Student Award winner receives an additional €1,000 as well.
The competition is presented in partnership with ARCHHIVE BOOKS. An introduction to each winning concept can be viewed below.
1st Prize: Remedy Towers by Jihoon Kim and Brenna Elise Fransen (United States)
Jury feedback: "The Builder's Remedy, also known as the 'Zoning Holiday,' is a provision that enables California affordable housing projects to bypass a city's zoning laws if the city fails to plan for housing demands. With many regions in Los Angeles not meeting state housing requirements, designers are now afforded opportunities to conceive of affordable housing without the usual constraints associated with strict residential zones. The project proposes a series of towers that challenge height limitations and draw inspiration from the scattered palm trees found throughout Greater Los Angeles, yielding a new typology that redefines the city skyline."
Read an interview with Kim and Fransen here.
2nd Prize + Buildner Student Award: Housing Textures by Harshwardhan Jitendra Kotwal from the University of Adelaide (Australia)
Jury feedback: "Housing Textures is situated in a diverse low-density neighborhood in a diverse fashion district of Los Angeles. New housing makes use of existing roof car parking structures. The proposal is phased and divided into segments based on private investments on individual sites, yet all connected to a shared circulation path fitted with greenery and communal spaces. It targets young adults and envisions a new means to home ownership among this demographic which is challenged by affordability."
Read an interview with Kotwa here.
3rd Prize: Thrive Revive Unite by Zuzanna Bucko and Alona Usychenko from Warsaw University (Poland)
Jury feedback: "For us, participating in architecture competitions offers the opportunity to approach design in a less typical manner. The guidelines and requirements for competition projects often allow us to think outside the box, which greatly aids in creating increasingly innovative work. As students, it's important for us to showcase our projects beyond the university setting. Both the chance to receive feedback on our designs from industry specialists and the opportunity to win various awards are additional reasons for us to participate in competitions."
Read an interview with Bucko and Usychenko here.
Buildner Sustainability Award: Community Energizer by Madalyn Grace Asker (United States)
Jury feedback: "The project proposes a form of affordable housing connected to rideshare services and public transit lines, as a means to contribute to sustainable urban development by reducing the need for personal vehicles, easing traffic congestion, and lowering overall carbon emissions. It suggests that ‘skinny’ homes be added to streets over 60 feet wide, as a solution to constructing 500,000 new homes in LA. It aims to increase density, optimize land use, reduce commute times, and foster economic vibrancy."
Read Asker's full interview here.
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