MALL’s new proposal aimed at addressing Los Angeles’ need for affordable ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) is one of 14 designs by architecture firms invited by the city’s Standard Plan Pilot project. In an effort to help strengthen the local availability of affordable housing, the project will offer residents a selection of pre-approved building plans for detached dwellings. The idea is to simplify the permitting process and fast-track construction of backyard homes.

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“I like to think that Lean-to ADU would fit perfectly in the backyard of a ‘white house with black trim’ — yet another trend popularized through Pinterest boards and home improvement shows,” said Jennifer Bonner, founder of MALL. “We are indifferent to style and believe this standard plan ADU looks great behind a range of single family homes be it traditional, farmhouse, modern or tudor. And if your main house isn’t ‘white house, black trim’ maybe it’s the perfect time for a paint job.” Known as simply Lean-To ADU, her design is an homage to American utilitarian lean-to sheds with a Los Angeles twist.

Related: Hello Wood launches flat-pack kits for DIY tiny cabins

white shed home with large window and black gabled roof
angled black roof atop white tiny home

Lean-To ADU incorporates some of the most iconic LA architectural traditions, stucco and an exaggerated false front, with a model that fits into a range of different backyard sites and terrains. It provides optimal natural daylight thanks to two skylights, and its design allows for cross-ventilation regardless of the structure’s orientation. There’s 515 square feet of living space and a 125-square-foot terrace on the roof. Each ADU is constructed with accessible building materials like black and white stucco and scalloped metal roof panels. Inside, there are areas designated for living and working as well as a full-sized kitchen with a dining nook.

rendering of white office desk across from child's bench and toys
rendering of colorful kitchen and small dining table

MALL teamed up with Martin Rickles Studio to include a landscape plan in the design, highlighting native California pollinator-friendly plants that are drought-tolerant and can filter stormwater runoff.

rendering of large gray bed in small room
rendering of rooftop patio enclosed in black walls

Alabama-native Bonner is the founder of MALL, a creative practice for art and architecture; the acronym stands for Mass Architectural Loopty Loops (or Maximum Arches with Limited Liability). Along with being an associate professor of architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, the award-winning architect is known for engaging “ordinary architecture” with features like gable roofs and everyday materials to reimagine classic design.

+ Jennifer Bonner

Images via Jennifer Bonner and MALL