Project posted by LOHA


Conceived by smart growth proponents as a viable solution to Los Angeles' tight housing market, the City of Los Angeles adopted the Small Lot Subdivision Ordinance in 2005. The ordinance aimed to encourage the construction of smaller, more affordable infill housing to target first-time home buyers in an increasingly unaffordable market; simultaneously increasing density while maintaining the residential scale of Los Angeles neighborhoods.

Located just south of LA’s Beachwood Canyon, our Canyon5 project examines the small lot subdivision typology by taking advantage of its efficiencies of footprint and density while creating unique homes filled with light and air. Starting from the maximum allowable envelope, the single mass is divided by tilting the exterior walls away from the lot lines at different angles to define the individual homes and create opportunities for solar exposure and natural ventilation. From their initial A-frame-like shapes, the volumes are expanded at their centers to maximize usable square footage while maintaining the angular end facades. This injects a sense of the individuality of single-family homes, missing from many small lot subdivision developments.

The curving, almost nautical forms are achieved through angled wall studs and panelized systems: a simple framing strategy. The wood framing is expressed internally so the overall geometry is legible from inside the home. The cedar-clad first floor for the two-car garages provides a material contrast for the light upper units, which are composed with aluminum panels and storefront glazing. These material choices filter natural light into the living areas but maintain privacy, essential when building close to other properties. Replacing the traditional backyard, the design of each house incorporates a roof deck to create access to more outdoor space.