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Over the course of the 2014-15 academic year, students in the design studio led by Darin Johnstone came up with a design proposal for a cost-effective, single-family home with a focus on innovation, affordability, home-healthy building materials, and sustainability.

Dubbed the IVRV House, the selected design champions the idea that beyond the crucial role of providing shelter, a well-designed home can help improve the lives and well-being of its residents, as well as the community beyond its walls. In August 2015, construction of the IVRV House started on an unincorporated site in Westmont, Los Angeles.

Once the home is complete, it will be transferred to a low-income family in Los Angeles through Habitat LA’s established housing program. Supported by its long term conception, the program’s goals are not merely to build individual homes, but also to make a meaningful impact on the urban scale, with multiples homes planned to be designed for underserved communities in Los Angeles.

The collaboration began as a series of design/build studios that started in fall 2014, structured to complete one SCI-Arc/Habitat LA home per academic year, on land transferred to Habitat LA by the Office of LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and the LA County Community Development Commission.

The IVRV House employs materials and techniques designed to reduce air pollution and foster a healthy home environment.

The fall semester (Sept-Dec) of SCI-Arc’s academic schedule was devoted to the student design of a home, and the spring semester (Jan-April) to completing the final documentation for the house. During the summer semester (June-Aug), SCI-Arc students joined Habitat LA’s volunteer structure for the beginning construction phase of the project.

The SCI-Arc/Habitat LA Housing Project offered students the invaluable opportunity to design and help construct homes, as well as learn firsthand about the challenges that the real-world presents and the skill sets it demands.

Habitat LA is excited that this program will offer the organization a unique opportunity to test new grounds for design innovation within its affordable homes and to integrate new strategies of sustainability into its projects. Learn more at the project website.