SCI-Arc and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles Team Up to Build Innovative, Sustainable and Affordable Homes in LA County

Project Shortlisted for MYLA2050 Grants Challenge Competition to Win $100,000 Grant from Goldhirsh Foundation in Partnership with GOOD

LOS ANGELES, CALIF., Sept. 11, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new collaboration between SCI-Arc and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles (Habitat LA) will tackle innovative ways to redevelop neglected properties in LA and positively impact the communities they exist within. The collaboration includes a series of SCI-Arc classes, starting this fall, in which students creatively design affordable and sustainable housing to be built on land transferred to Habitat LA by the Office of LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. The project 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.

"The cost-effective single family house is a new area of interest for SCI-Arc as it plans to work alongside Habitat LA to design inexpensive and simultaneously inventive single family homes, to be built in LA County," says SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss. "There have been a number of such efforts over the years, typically skewed in the low cost rather than the imaginative design direction. It's time SCI-Arc turned its attention to the solution for both."

A highlight of the campaign to raise funds for the initiative is the project's participation in the MYLA2050 Grants Challenge, spearheaded by the Goldhirsh Foundation in partnership with GOOD. The competition will be awarding 10 projects with $100,000 each, totaling $1 million to help build the LA of our dreams by 2050. Five of the awards will be determined by public voting through September 16. The SCI-Arc/Habitat LA Housing Project is shortlisted in the LIVE category.

"The SCI-Arc/Habitat LA Housing Project is an exciting collaboration that will bring value to all parties involved," says Erin Rank, president/CEO of Habitat LA. "Students will have the opportunity to see the project through from design conception to construction, and the homeowners as well as the community will benefit from a sustainable home that promotes health and well-being."

Starting this September, SCI-Arc will begin a series of design-build studios whose structure is set up to complete one SCI-Arc/Habitat LA home per academic year. The fall semester will be devoted to the student design of a home, followed by construction documentation of the project during the spring semester. In summer 2015, students will work alongside Habitat LA volunteers in order to acquire firsthand building experience during the construction phase of the project.

"The partnership between SCI-Arc and Habitat LA represents an incredibly exciting opportunity for everyone involved," says Program Coordinator Darin Johnstone, a design studio professor at SCI-Arc. "It is rare that two entities with such contrasting and yet complimentary expertise get together to achieve a common goal."

Managed collaboratively, the SCI-Arc/Habitat LA Housing Project is a partnership that bridges Habitat for Humanity's mission to bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope with SCI-Arc's mission to educate architects to engage, speculate, and innovate. Engagement with Habitat LA, residents, and the local community will play a vital role in the student design and build process. Offering students the educational opportunity for community-based involvement, whether through Habitat LA and resident input, or volunteering on site, will not only inform the project design itself, but can also have a meaningful impact on subsequent projects and the students' future careers in architecture.

Read more and vote for the SCI-Arc/Habitat LA Housing Project proposal at

About SCI-Arc

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) is dedicated to educating architects who will imagine and shape the future. It is an independent, accredited degree-granting institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs in architecture. Located in a quarter-mile-long former freight depot in the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles, the school is distinguished by its vibrant studio culture and emphasis on process. SCI-Arc's approximately 500 students and 80 faculty members, most of whom are practicing architects, work together to re-examine assumptions, create, explore and test the limits of architecture. SCI-Arc is ranked 1st in computer applications and 2nd in design in the 2013 America's Best Architecture Schools survey from DesignIntelligence, and #1 graduate and undergraduate architecture school in Western U.S.

About Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles (Habitat LA) strives to eliminate substandard housing through advocacy, education and partnership with families and individuals in need to build decent, sustainable and affordable housing. Since 1990, Habitat LA has built and repaired more than 1,000 homes locally and worldwide, transforming the lives of hundreds of individuals. Habitat LA is a GuideStar® Valued Partner and has achieved the coveted Charity Navigator 4-Star rating awarded to non-profits for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency. For more information, please visit or call 310-323-4663.

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