Katherine Flynn for AIA ARCHITECT takes a look at the Backyard BI(h)OME, winner of an AIA 2018 Small Project Award, which is an experimental prototype lightweight ADU that contains a bedroom, living room, bathroom, and kitchen/dining room in only 500 square feet. Conceptualized by Kevin Daly Architects, with design collaboration and fabrication by graduate students at cityLAB, a think tank within UCLA’s Architecture and Urban Design Department, the structure is made of a steel pipe frame and a sheer wall made of timber with an exterior clad in a honeycomb formation of paper cylinders housed in layers of ETFE (fluorine- based plastic) wrap.

Thanks to a combination of strict land use regulations and strong economic growth, California has been experiencing a creeping housing shortage since the 1970s. Designers and urban planners think that accessory dwelling units (ADUs), which can be built without a zoning change as long as they’re smaller than 1,200 square feet, have the potential to provide feasible solutions to the state’s housing crisis—while flying under the radar of official housing regulations.

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