Could Affordable Eco-Housing Be in Your Backyard?

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Could Affordable Eco-Housing Be in Your Backyard?

Could Affordable Eco-Housing Be in Your Backyard?

Can LA solve its affordable housing crisis with demountable, plastic-skinned homes shared with lizards and other urban wildlife?

That’s the modest goal of BIHOME, an energy-efficient and low-water consuming “lightweight cottage,” designed to be located in the backyards of homes in LA as a “habitat for people while also enhancing the backyard habitat for other species.”

The BIHOME (also written as Bi(h)OME, playing off of “biome” or ecosystem), is the creation of students in UCLA’s departments of architecture, urban design (known as cityLAB) and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, under the tutelage of architect Kevin Daly, cityLAB director Dana Cuff, and IOES professors Jon Christensen and Ursula Heise.

Last week they unveiled the results — in an unexpectedly pretty, 350-square feet demonstration house parked outside the Broad Art Center on UCLA’s campus.

Students sporting lab coats, teachers, staffers from Shrink Wrap Pros and UCLA’s facilities, structural engineer Ben Varela, and friends and families gathered for drinks in a pavilion-like structure made of pipe frame wrapped in shrink-wrapped plastic with a cardboard tube infill. []

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