Lots of Small. Lots of Good.

This was a nice little bit of info to stumble into. The winners “Small Lots, Smart Designs” competition were just announced and Urban Building Workshop principal, Kevin Skiles was the big winner. What does he and his team get for their successful efforts? To build an earth-friendly development in a tiny space. Doesn’t sound, at first, that exciting, but if you’ve lived anywhere outside of a relatively closed-in city (we’re looking at you, Phoenix), you’ll appreciate that this sort of thing is not only helping impoverished families, of course, but also attempting to show that you can build up, not out, and still create livable surroundings. Seems like a stupid thing to say, but, again, go visit the place this writer grew up in (Phoenix, ahem) and talk about insane sprawl and environmental pillaging. Here’s some about the project:

The competition’s 1st Place winner – Solar Forest – belongs to Kevin Skiles of Urban Building Workshop in San Francisco. This will mark their first LA project. Design team member Marguerite Lonergan, who characterizes their design style as “new urbanist,” noted that they learned of the competition through Architects & Designers for Social Responsibility. Previous projects include affordable, non-profit-affiliated townhomes and entry-level houses in the North Bay/Santa Rosa area.

The winning design will be built on a small lot as an example of what can be built for any developers interested in building affordable, green homes on available small lots. Since they will have a design that already meets city standards, developers will be able to keep costs lower and pass that savings on to potential homeowners.

Small Lots, Smart Designs coincides with record-breaking area home prices and a renewed interest in creative alternatives to the traditional suburban single-family home. It has the potential to turn many renters into homeowners through fresh, innovative, and cost-effective means in the coming years,” said Bill Jones, who runs Enterprise Community Partners’ affordable homeownership program in Los Angeles.