Can design help solve a complex economic problem?

United States

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a smaller, independent dwelling unit located on the same lot as the main residence. Although ADUs have long existed, they have recently garnered more attention as a potential solution to the affordable housing crisis that leverages existing city infrastructure and prevents urban sprawl.

The design minimizes the units’ environmental impact, making the ADU type—which typically carries a large carbon footprint—a sustainable housing solution. The prototype is the first ADU to receive an Energy Star rating. Roof-top solar panels generate energy to power the unit, strategically located windows maximize cross-ventilation, and the exterior walls support plantings. Sliding glass panels allow residents to open the house directly to a deck or garden, creating indoor-outdoor living environments.

Working closely with the biggest prefabrication company in the northern United States, CAZA developed a customizable design scheme that uses existing production capabilities, supply chains, and customer-service infrastructure. These integrations mean that a customized home could be ordered online, delivered, and installed on-site within weeks. The two prototypes—a studio unit and a one-bedroom unit—can serve as a self-use office, an intergenerational home, or a rental investment.

  • LOCATION: Several locations throughout the United States
  • SIZE: Studio - 400 SQF / One Bedroom 500 SQF
  • PROJECT TEAM: Carlos Arnaiz, Xiao Tan, Queenie Xu, Yihang Yan