Building in Los Angeles is notoriously hampered by a 20-year-old general plan and safety requirements for protecting structures against earthquakes and fires. Combine those restrictions with a bonkers housing shortage and rapidly rising homeless population and L.A. has gotten itself into a bit of a pickle. It takes upwards of two years to build a supportive housing development from the ground-up in the city, but L.A. needs more housing. Now.
That was the challenge Homes for Hope set out to tackle when they designed a modular, 92-square-foot housing pod as the final project of at the University of Southern California’s Homeless Studio. Working with city planners and housing advocates from the start, 11 architecture students created a housing proposal that artfully dodges building restrictions.
The stackable structures are designed for clusters of fewer than 30 beds, avoiding the need for a conditional permit which could delay construction for months or years. The prefab design means the homes can be classified as temporary, “congregant housing” so they aren’t restricted location-wise as a shelter might be. And the on-site assembly for a full 30-bed facility can take just two weeks and cost under $1 million, at about $25,000 per pod.
Each pod contains enough room for a bed, desk, and storage, but the modules can be altered into bathrooms or offices, and combined into larger communal spaces.
Homes for Hope built a working prototype of their pod design and a local non-profit is already fundraising to build a housing complex for homeless women using the pod system. Do check out the full story over on Co.Design.