Roberto Paz, AIA      Info       Castellano                

low rise

Our competition entry for the Low Rise design challenge.

This challenge asked architects and landscape architects to imagine appealing and sustainable new models of low-rise, multi-unit housing. It was organized by the Office of the Mayor of Los Angeles and Christopher Hawthorne, the Chief Design Officer for the City of Los Angeles.


We entered the Fourplex category

Our proposal is focused on a layout that provides four units of varying sizes that prioritize access to exterior space and encourage residents to spend more time outdoors. Outdoor space ranges from private to more open, where residents can share with friends within the complex.

We divided our proposal into three ideas:




The starting point for the project is a modular system that can be reproduced in any other residential lot in Los Angeles. We divided the long dimension of the lot into a unidirectional grid system made up of 12’ wide bands. Each house module is designed with this grid in mind, making it easier to arrange the house modules on the site while allowing outdoor areas to be included. There are four types of houses: Large, Medium, and two Small houses. One of the Small houses is separated into a social volume and a bedroom volume. This is to provide a degree of flexibility when placing it on the site and to incorporate a private outdoor space that includes a dining area.

In the future, we could choose any combination of these houses, depending on site conditions. Houses can be arranged around existing trees or other site features, as well as take into account the existing buildings in adjacent properties. Site furniture is also designed to fit within the 12’ grid. A modular seating system encourages outdoor socializing, while a modular trellis system ensures residents have access to a shaded area. These modular features take advantage of economies of scale, becoming more economical as the system is deployed on future projects.


Our modular system prioritizes outdoor gathering space for all residents. Quality of life improves exponentially when one can sit outside to enjoy a beverage. CoVID has shown us that spending time outside with friends is vital. One feature that helps facilitate human connection through outdoor entertaining is the hands free powder room. This accessible, door-free structure, allows residents to entertain visitors outside. We designed all spaces, including first floor W.C.s and showers, with accessibility in mind.
We believe that, as we aim to open these projects to all, neighbors will welcome more of them into their streets. And more Angelenos will be able to enjoy that first dinner of the year, when it’s warm enough to eat outside, and grow together.

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© Roberto Paz 2024