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Accessory Dwelling Units
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California is in the midst of a severe housing crisis. There is lack of affordable housing and not enough space in major cities to build new construction. One solution might be to build more Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as "granny flats."

The California Department of Housing and Community states, “Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are known by many names: granny flats, in-law units, backyard cottages, secondary units and more. No matter what you call them, ADUs are an innovative, affordable, effective option for adding much-needed housing in California.”

In an effort to bolster public awareness about ADUs, AIAPF hosted the one-day "Public Forum: The Accessory Dwelling Unit. Architects creating blueprints for better communities and the affordable housing challenge," on November 10, 2018 at Parsons Corporation.

The event garnered good public attention and was critical in beginning discussion about ADUs in communities. The free public program featured a panel of experts and provided the what's and how's of ADUs. General public and homeowners participated in the one-day forum to learn about ADUs and what architects do on a daily basis to improve our communities and the places in which we live. This was an exciting opportunity for everyone to learn about how architects add value to everyday with their unique technical and artistic skills.

Discussion about ADUs and architecture is important. Below are resources from the forum to help begin or continue the conversation in your city or home.

Special note: AIA Pasadena & Foothill, AIA San Diego, AIA Central Valley along with AIA California are working on a dedicated ADU website due to launch soon. This will become a valuable resource for the public when it goes live. Until then we will continue to update this page as new links and materials become available.



Public Forum Panelists

William Huang, Housing Director, City of Pasadena

Mr. Huang directs a department that provides a wide array of affordable housing and homeless programs, as well as funding for social service and economic development activities with an annual budget of approximately $22 million. Pasadena is actively engaged in affordable housing with a highly effective inclusionary housing ordinance, numerous transit oriented developments, an innovative housing first program, and a strong local government voice for new affordable housing and homeless legislation. Pasadena’s homeless population decreased by 54% from 2011-2016. This was accomplished in large part by a concerted focus on providing permanent supportive housing, rapid rehousing and homeless prevention programs. Prior to joining the City of Pasadena, Mr. Huang was the Housing Director for the County of Los Angeles. Before that, he was the former Deputy Director of the nonprofit Los Angeles Community Design Center (now Abode Communities) where he oversaw affordable housing development and architectural services for numerous housing and community facilities.


Frances Hardy, Director of Resource Development, Habitat for Humanity, San Gabriel Valley

Frances Hardy is the Director of Resource Development at San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity. She oversees the organization’s multi-million dollar fundraising initiatives, marketing strategy and volunteer programs. Frances’ graduate school research in Kampala, Uganda launched her career in affordable housing. After her time in East Africa, Frances returned to New York City where she held roles in real estate project management, affordable housing advocacy and philanthropy. As a transplant to sunny Southern California, Frances is building creative partnerships to address the affordable housing crisis so that every LA County resident has a safe, decent and affordable place to call home.

Jared Basler, AIA, NCARB

Jared is a southern California native with 15 years experience in the local construction and architecture communities. He is a graduate of New School of Architecture & Design. Jared is a Licensed Architect in Georgia, NCARB certified, and is currently working toward reciprocity here in California. Jared established his firm, Basis Studio in late 2016 to respond to the state legislation that removed many of the barriers preventing homeowners from building accessory dwelling units. Jared has carved out a niche in the ADU market as the go to expert not only in design, but also in assisting jurisdictions in the creation of ordinances that promote the development of ADUs and are consistent with the letter and intent of state law. Since the beginning of 2017, Basis Studio has assisted over 800 homeowners interested in building ADUs. Jared has 19 ADU projects in the office currently, and was just awarded the 2018 Young Architect of the Year Award by AIA San Diego for his work on ADU policy and advocacy.

Christopher Garner, Partner at Accessory Spaces

Christopher, is one of the managing partners of Accessory Spaces and a young professional who has been on the forefront of the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) laws here in Pasadena, Los Angeles, & Glendale.  Having helped a family member build a rental income ADU in Los Angeles to help supplement the mortgage, Christopher realized that this was a fantastic investment opportunity for any eligible single-family homeowner. Accessory Spaces is a team of ADU specialists who guide homeowners through the entire ADU process from start to finish. From the feasibility, financing, design, city permitting, construction, and new tenant documents, Accessory Spaces is there every step of the way.


Karyn Jones, Construction Lending Specialist, USBANK

Construction Lending Specialist through the Builder Division of US Bank in La Jolla. She has twenty years of experience in the mortgage industry and five years specializing in new construction and remodel financing. Her team partners with many builders across the country to offer a variety of conforming and jumbo mortgage products to assist clients with their home building and home improvement projects. Karyn’s history includes eight years in mortgage sales management where she lead the California production record for the country’s second largest bank. She currently works closely with industry experts and US Bank’s leadership to identify trends and needs in the marketplace in order to deliver attractive mortgage solutions.


Jay Zapata, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Jay was born and raised in one of Latin Americas most significant and fastest growing metropolitan city, Panama City, Panama. He began his professional career as an architect in one of the most prestigious architecture firms, Pinzón Lozano & Asociados Arquitectos, assisting in the design development & construction documents phases of high rise buildings. As the years passed by, Jay became an important part of the team of architects designing the innovative F&F Tower, a 52 floor cork screw designed skyscraper. As fate would have it, in 2010 Jay’s path led him to the City of Angels to work as a consultant architect for The Getty Institute in Brentwood. The following year, Jay worked as the architect in charge of all the technical and project coordination aspects for Season 4 of HGTV’s show The Outdoor Room with Jamie Durie, and also worked as a consultant architect for many architects and engineers in Pasadena and Los Angeles. In 2012 he joined Togawa Smith & Martin, an architecture firm that specializes in high density multifamily residential and mix use buildings throughout Southern California and with over a century of history and proven track record. At TSM, Jay had the opportunity to implement innovative technical solutions to deliver sensitive design with thoughtfully composed and cost effective planning, among many other things. Jay started his own practice in 2018 called zprout /s-prout/ where he helps clients germinate new ideas in order to help them increase their property value. Hi studio is located in the City of San Gabriel and specializes in high density multifamily developments, commercial buildings, custom single family homes, and outdoor spaces projects. Outside of work, you can find Jay doing different types of outdoor activities but more importantly spending time with his wife and young children. He resides in the architecturally historic city of Pasadena and also believes in alternatives ways of commuting to work and play.


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