You do YOU?

Opinions on YOU-ADU vary.

Opinions on YOU-ADU vary. Large firms see this kit of preapproved designs for ancillary homes made available for free on the Department of Building and Safety’s website as a recipe for a single-family headache. Families with an empty backyard and no budget for an architect may be taken in by the too-low estimated cost. (The city lists $130,000, but if you believe that, then you deserve the headache. For starters, owing to the endless variability of site lots, every YOU-ADU design needs modifying.) Two upcoming UCLA grads behind the practice Objects in Space are indifferent on the program, but they do approve of ADUs, which they see as a way to get their young design studio off the ground. It beats the alternative presented to them by Thom Mayne at a university lecture: “It’s impossible to start a practice. The only good work is in third-world countries.” Melissa Shin, whose studio, Shin Shin, has built three accessory dwelling units, reminds us that “an office can’t survive on ADUs.” Maybe opinions aren’t the issue; it’s our expectations.

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