Climate Utility Dwellings ADU

Micro-Bio-Architecture and the Future of Eco-Occupancy Four overriding principles shape the design for a new climate utility ADU that has been calibrated specifically for the Californian homeowner: Eccentric Allure, Whimsical Wonder, Modernist Air, The Visible Hand: Eco-Craft. In suffusing these aesthetic traits together, the architecture for a moveable home annexe becomes a contemporary prototype that marries historic, universal design preoccupations.

Hybrid Equilibrium

By joining together the functional advantages of pre-fabricated design with the warmth and tactile attractiveness of craft-driven architecture, a hybridised specimen of Californian modular living has been created. The new Californian ADU units have been designed to be versatile and to naturally complement existing house styles Los Angeles. Coalescing the studio’s former experience with small-scale modular design with local precedent and case studies. The Californian ADU unit will be designed at a maximum footprint of 12,00sqft, with 4ft set back from rear and side. It will also be designed to have similar exterior colours, materials, roof pitch and massing to the primary home it connects to.

Looking to Precedent

The design story for the Climate Utility ADU began with a keen analysis of the aspirational, modernist Californian home, understanding what makes these buildings some of the most desirable places to live and how their principles might translate within an ADU environment. Case studies, including such examples as the Stahl House, utilise expanses of open living space that seemingly spill out onto the landscape, prioritising shade and minimal, clean meditative surfaces.

Mindful Materiality

The utility spaces cater for the needs of the conscious and tasteful homeowner in providing a simple canvas for eclectic furniture and manageable platforms for entertaining. Their design also promotes and exudes space for contemplation and responsible intellectualism through its minimalist use of materials and modern engineering.


One deduction from this analysis was that the open model of home is even more befitting of an ADU environment than it is to any other type of plot due to the inherent safety of a garden or shared plot. Modern-day Californians have become increasingly conscious of their responsibilities, wanting their homes to integrate nature and the sought after responsible eco and craft ethos. Historic modernist homes champion many of these attributes, yet new requirements demand that the Climate Utility ADU transcends and evolves beyond these examples, using a ‘bio-modernist’ approach to integrate nature and responsible design and materials.

Design Pillars: 

1. Compact Living

Being that the dwelling unit had to be a compact living space, its deisgn works to the dimensions of a low-loading trailer, –10m x 4m. This works to minimise the complexities and cost of on-site work through the introduction of a primarily pre-fabricated structure, allow the unit to arrive on site in the least number of parts possible before being easily and quickly assembled. This is system that defined many of the post-war modernist buildings and allows for minimum impact on the landscape

2. Bio-modernist

A ‘bio-modernist’ prototype proposes a structure with the efficiency of a pre-fabricated, modernist building, combined with the material warmth of Mother Nature’s very own tree to appeal further to the inclinations of the environmentally conscious Californian.

3. Trunk & Deck

The Climate Utility ADU unit’s design offers a central rectangular structure with a glass fronted living space that opens seamlessly and with ease onto outdoor decking, bringing a feeling of spaciousness to a modest floor plan. Its bedroom space sits within a steam-bent timber trunk whose structure provides increased privacy as it sits within the confines of another home. The materiality of the steam-bent timber adds a hand-crafted, humane feel to the bedroom space, the most private and contemplative space within the home. The outcome is a sleek, modern and rational diminutive home.


California, USA




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