A viable option to alleviate California’s housing crisis while taking care of our planet

Conceptual Collage. Images from Sam Lafoca, Getty Images file and Recycled CLD, Nordic CLT.

Conceptual Collage. Images from Sam Lafoca, Getty Images file and Recycled CLD, Nordic CLT.

The state of California is currently going through a housing crisis, experiencing both a lack of homes as well as high prices in the market, making the housing crisis a recurring topic discussed by community leaders and politicians. At the same time, California residents have witnessed a dramatic increase in the homeless population in recent years. California keeps growing, due both to some natural reasons, such as birth rates exceeding death rates, as well as the natural influx of people migrating for several reasons.

The state has not been able to keep up with the housing demand. Solutions must be found, and one of the ways this crisis could be resolved is with Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), which are additional dwellings on single-family lots that are separate from the main dwelling unit. Most of these ADUs are built from cost-effective lightweight wood frames that, thanks to their size, are relatively quick to build. Another advantage is that a law has recently been passed in the state of California making the process for building an ADU faster.

This paper aims to investigate a prefabricated ADU from Cross Laminated Timber panels. The carbon storage in contrast to an ADU built from a light-frame wood structure, as well as the health benefits of living in a space built from solid wood, air quality, and acoustics, are all good reasons to migrate from light-frame wood structures to Cross Laminated Timber panels. The many advantages of the product will be investigated, both the structural issue and the benefits of prefabrication. ADU from Mass Timber can take advantage of the wood sourced from sustainably managed forests in northern California, as well as in Oregon and Washington, to solve the problem of housing as well as playing a part in alleviating the environmental crisis through the carbon storage.

Mass Timber ADUs – Two Crisis One Sustainable Solution is a project of IaaC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed at MMTD, Master in Mass Timber Design in 2021/2022 by Student: Juan Bugarin. Faculty: Daniel Ibanez. Course: Narative 2