Kevin Daly Architects

Kevin Daly Architects

Los Angeles, CA | New York, NY



The Backyard BI(h)OME is an ultra-modern, lightweight accessory dwelling unit that has the potential to meet Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s call for 100,000 new housing units by 2021. One of the region’s housing solution lies in our own backyards. Almost a half million single family homes rest within the boundaries of the city of Los Angeles, and building BI(h)OMEs on the land behind just 20% of existing homes would meet that goal. The BI(h)OME demonstrates—in its design, fabrication, occupation, and recycling—what sustainability means at a personal level. The BI(h)OME was initiated by UCLA’s CityLAB and designed by Kevin Daly Architects.

The low-cost, low-impact Bi(H)OME could serve as housing for an elderly parent, a returning college graduate or as a rental unit. It is easy to install—requiring no sewer hookup and only a hose for water supply—and easy to remove. It is almost entirely recyclable. Rather than requiring a mortgage, it can be leased like a car; it is semi-permanent and can flexibly serve the needs of homeowners for as long as they want before being recycled or reinstalled. The environmental impact of the structure over its entire life cycle is between 10 and 100 times less than a conventional auxiliary dwelling. Each 500-square foot backyard home contains a bedroom, living room, kitchen/dining room and bathroom. The floor is mounted on a temporary low rock wall and posts that are screwed into the ground, so it does not require a foundation. The structure is covered with an innovative translucent skin consisting of two layers of ETFE, a tough Teflon plastic, vacuum-sealed around a paper honeycomb, creating a remarkably solid yet light structure. Modular units contain the bathroom, shower, a closet, kitchen sink and counter. The structure can be configured in different ways to fit any backyard and to catch the sun on photovoltaic cells printed on the outside layer of the Bi(H)OME’s skin, while LED lights can be built into the inner layer.

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Status: Built
Location: Los Angeles, CA, US
Additional Credits: Photos by Nico Marques