Sleek New Affordable Home Coming to Athens

In a first-of-its-kind partnership, Los Angeles County, Habitat for Humanity (Habitat LA) and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) will soon break ground on a new model for affordable homes — one that is sleek in its design, environmentally sustainable, and affordable.

The county donated a 4,410-square foot lot in Athens for the project and, recently, authorized $95,000 to build the home, which will also be financed by SCI-Arc and Habitat LA.  Construction began on June 9 at 1232 West 101st  Street, and is expected to last through mid-summer.

“This is an exciting project that really challenges the notion of what affordable housing can look like,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, whose office initiated the idea to bring  the three partners together. “My hope is that this will serve as a national model for design and for public/private partnerships.”

Added architect and SCI-Arc Director Eric Moss: “A unique urban partnership is about to manifest itself in the inner city. The objective is to change the conventional pro forma of affordable housing, to improve residential livability, to inspire the neighborhood with imaginative possibilities for the future, and to promote sustainability in new housing.”

“The construction of this innovative, affordable home would not be possible without the support of the county, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and SCI-Arc,” said Erin Rank, Habitat LA President and CEO. “We are looking forward to integrating new design and sustainability features into this home, as well as seeing a limited-income hardworking family and the local community benefit from this collaboration.”

During the 2014 fall semester, SCI-Arc students were devoted to the design of a home which focused on innovation, affordability, home-healthy building materials and sustainability.

The 2015 spring semester focused on completing the final design of the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home. During this upcoming summer semester, SCI-Arc students will join Habitat LA and its volunteer team to build the home. Habitat LA is restricted from selling the home for more than $419,000, and is in the process of selecting a family.

This collaboration not only provided the students with the invaluable opportunity to design and construct a home, but also the chance to learn about the challenges that real-world construction presents and the skill sets it demands.