Tag Archives: affordable housing

Updated ADU Laws: SB 897 and HCD’s ADU Handbook

Accessory Dwelling Units are more popular than ever, and cities across California are recognizing the importance of ADUs in the fight to end the state’s housing crisis. Just recently, Freddie Mac updated their ADU financing options and CalHFA extended their ADU Grant Program to help even more homeowners build backyard homes. Now, there are two more news items to add to the list of developments. In August, 2022 the California Senate voted to pass SB 897 (a brand-new law that clarifies previous ADU legislation), and the California Department of Housing and Community Development updated their ADU Handbook. Continue reading

Choosing Between a Prefab ADU vs. Traditional Stick-Framed ADU

Construction Options for an ADU
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) continue to be a topic of heightened interest for homeowners and real estate investors.  As the need to have more usable space during a real estate market with scarce affordable housing increases, legislators are easing zoning laws and local building codes.

With relaxed restrictions, more homeowners are taking the next step of exploring which type of construction would be best for their particular ADU needs and usage plans. Should you construct your dwelling using the Traditional Stick-Built method to get exactly what you want? Or would a Prefab Modular Unit make more sense based on time and budget constraints? Continue reading

What is Construction 3D Printing?

Construction 3D printing refers to various technologies that use 3D printing as the method to fabricate entire buildings or parts of buildings. There are a variety of 3D printing methods used at construction scale, with the main ones being extrusion (concrete/cement, wax, foam, polymers) and powder bonding (polymer bond, reactive bond, sintering). 3D Printing advantages include faster construction, lower labor costs, increased complexity and/or accuracy, greater integration of function, and less waste produced. Continue reading

Mind-Altering Affordable Housing Ideas from Around the World

Within the context of an ongoing global affordable-housing crisis, communities across the world are looking at ways to contend with the issue. What can be done to provide affordable housing? The book “Emerging Ideas in Architecture & Design”, produced by Archhive Books in the U.K. includes case studies, interviews, and results from numerous design competitions focused on solutions to affordable housing. There are some many interesting, creative, and mind-altering ideas. Here are but a few. Continue reading

New California ADU Bills and What They Mean For You

California recently passed multiple bills to remove barriers that once made it almost impossible for homeowners to build an ADU on their properties. A grand total of six California ADU bills were passed! While this news is exciting, we’ll be the first to admit that this flood of changes can be a bit hard to follow. That’s why we’ve compiled this list and broken it down to the bare bones of what you need to know. Continue reading

Architectural Solutions to the Housing Crisis

Coliseum Connections Apartments built of stackable modular units

In the face of persistent housing shortages, how are architects making a meaningful contribution? Housing’s primary position in our lives makes it a natural site of intervention in the complex fight against lack of housing. “Housing First” policies acknowledge that the pursuit of a healthy, fulfilling life is possible only when we have a stable home, while a growing body of research demonstrates that people with affordable, well-designed housing lead healthier, happier lives than those who are rent-burdened or ill-housed. Beyond policies and data showing the generative value of housing, people universally seek a sense of dignity and identity through their homes. Continue reading

Tips for Designing Your Shipping Container Home

Robyn Volker and Anke Irmscher decided to paint their shipping-container home bright orange because, as Ms. Volker said, “you might as well announce it’s a container.” credits: N.Y.Times

Shipping container homes have grown immensely in popularity in recent years for several good reasons: they are durable, eco-friendly, and modular. More importantly, approached correctly, they can be built both faster and more affordably than conventional homes. The first two-story shipping container home in the U.S. is said to have been designed by a California architect in 2006. Since then, the rate of shipping container housing has steadily accelerated in response to the increased cost of home construction. Here are some tips for those considering a shipping container home. Continue reading

The Architecture of Affordable Housing

232 River Street, Santa Cruz: An Example of Affordable Housing Infill.

As affordable housing developers build in inclusionary zoning areas, cities and residents demand high quality architecture and construction comparable to market-rate housing


One of the challenges that frequently confront market-rate housing developers building in cities with inclusionary zoning ordinances is the requirement that a certain number of affordable units be built alongside market-rate housing to promote a more diverse community. The juxtaposition of affordable with market-rate housing also demands that the affordable housing features a higher level of architectural style to compete aesthetically with the market-rate housing. Continue reading