Please send questions about Low-Rise and the submission process to lowrise@lacity.org. We will periodically add relevant questions, with answers, on this page so they are available for all entrants to consult.

Site Selection and Site Details

Q: The lot sizes are described as 50’ x 150’ (7500 SF) – How stringent are these requirements? Assuming that context/neighborhood is a critical factor in this submission, is there a level of flexibility in the overall lot dimensions, or are only lots that have those exact dimensions applicable?

A: Many of the questions we’ve received are related to site selection in one way or another. As the brief explains, you may choose a specific site with the permission of the owners. You may also, with or without such permission, situate your proposal in a particular section of Los Angeles (street, neighborhood, etc.) as a way to engage with its history or context or for another reason. It is also perfectly fine to proceed without situating your proposal in a specific neighborhood context. If you do choose a specific location or area, you should do so with care, paying attention to the cultural and economic context as well as the urban or architecture one, along with the potential impact of new construction and the portions of the listening sessions that relate to speculative investment and displacement. You should describe in the narrative portion of your entry how you chose any specific site or context and why.

There is some flexibility in lot dimensions if you are looking at a specific context. Please be sure that the total square footage of your lot remains between 75% and 125% of the 7500-square-foot size mentioned in the brief.

Q: Will you assign or recommend a specific lot, site, or neighborhood for entrants in categories other than (Re)Distribution?

A: No.

Q: The website and challenge brief state two different minimum sf requirements for the fourplex category. Please clarify.

A: Wherever there is a discrepancy between the website and the brief, refer to the brief.

Q: Could you please confirm what you mean by a mid-block lot?

A: Not on a corner.

Q: Will you send us floor plans or other drawings for the houses in the (Re)Distribution category?

A: In general, no. These materials should be widely available. Please do not contact the owners or managers of these properties. We understand that information on the South Seas House is difficult to find and we will be sharing a full set of plans for that house shortly, along with some info on other houses in the category. We’d also like to remind entrants that John Lautner’s Chemosphere House (Los Angeles, 1960) has been added to this category; we encourage you to consider it.

Q: For the Fourplex category, the brief requests that details for the affordability of option 5th and 6th units be explained. Are there any guidelines to the extent of the details? Is it based on any current Los Angeles Affordable Housing standards?

A: The extent of these details is up to you. You may refer to similar guidelines proposals in other cities (e.g. Portland, Oregon), compare your approach to existing City of Los Angeles guidelines, or propose new or amended ones.

Registration and Makeup of Teams

Q: Can one registration submit multiple times to the same design prompt? (For example, two or three submissions that are variations of the Fourplex?)

A: No.

Q: Can one registration submit to multiple categories with different team members for each submission?

A: Yes.

Q: Is there a maximum size for a team to propose in any category?

A: No, but the registration form will ask you to list no more than five members to be recognized in any written description of, or other official reference to, entries.

Q: We have a smaller/bigger team now than when we registered. Is this okay?

A: Yes. As long as your entry includes an email address used to register before the registration deadline, you may change the makeup of your team as you see fit.

Q: We would like to add members to our team who attempted to register on their own but missed the registration deadline. Is this okay?

A: Yes.

Q: When will you send us the registration and release forms?

A: In the first half of January. These forms will be straightforward and you will be asked to include them with your final submission and not before. We will send them by email.

Judging and Scoring

Q: Are the proposals going to be judged anonymously?

A: The four juries will consider and score the proposals anonymously. The proposals will be organized by Mayor’s Office staff in preparation for jury review, and during this process we will anonymize them. We’d be grateful if you limited identifying information to the registration and release forms, or those forms plus the narrative section, but this is not required.

Q: Is there any merit in proposing an overarching housing solution that can be applied in more than one category of the 4 presented in the brief? Are the submissions for different categories going to be cross-reviewed by judges?

A: The entries will not be cross-reviewed by jurors, but if you want to propose an overarching solution or solutions, please do so in the narrative section of your entry or entries.

Q: Can a variant on one of the four categories be submitted without disqualification?

A: We can’t promise how the jury would react to such a submission, but it would not on its own be grounds for disqualification.


Q: Thinking about sustainability and bearing in mind the drive for better public transport and more self-sufficient neighbourhoods, is there any chance to replace the required (covered) car parking spaces with cycle spaces and/ or charging places for electric scooters? This could free more shared space on the plot and would also offer the opportunity for more green spaces.

A: You are free to propose such an approach. If you do, please explain why in the narrative section of your entry, bearing in mind the political as well as urban-design implications for such a change as they are discussed in the listening sessions.

Q: The Fourplex category specifies that at a minimum, we should assume the same total parking requirements that would apply for a newly constructed single-family residence. The local code specifies two covered parking spaces per dwelling unit. Should we assume two covered parking spaces for the entire site or two covered parking spaces per unit?

A: As a minimum, assume two covered parking spaces for the entire site. If you choose to rely on this minimum, explain this choice and its implications in the narrative section of your entry.

Materials, Budgets, Etc.
Q: Given the reduced scale of the proposed categories, would you consider using modular construction? In other words, are these projects meant to be replicated at a scale that would justify modular construction?  

A: It is perfectly acceptable to propose a modular solution or another specific approach to engineering or construction technology. Please explain this choice in the narrative section of your entry.

Q: Is there a budget to keep in mind for each of the categories?

A: No, not a specific budget. You are free to include information in the narrative section of your proposal or elsewhere about materials, construction techniques, budget/cost, and affordability, if you wish. We would encourage you in particular to reflect in a range of ways on the relationship between your proposal and affordability.


Q: Do we need to use feet or can we use meters?

A: As long as the dimensions in your proposal meet the requirements spelled out in the brief, you may label drawings in meters.

Q: Is energy modeling documentation required as part of the project submission?

A: No.

Q: In the listening sessions, specifically the Public Infrastructure Investment, Transformative Climate Communities and Sustainability Across Regions sessions, there was discussion in developing public-private partnerships/programs. Can we propose some new programs that we think would be consistent with the discussions that were had during these sessions?

A: Yes. The most appropriate place to do so would be in the narrative section of your entry, although you could also refer to such programs elsewhere.

Q: I would like to pose one question concerning the requirements of submissions for the Low Rise competition. They state: "Plan and interior rendering (along with other visual material as desired) of at least one all-electric kitchen interior, including induction cooktops." Am I understanding correctly that a *separate* plan and rendering is for the kitchen interior *alone*? It reads that way, but I just want to be certain.

A: Yes, that is correct.

Q: For the “corners” category, it says that the retail/community space “should occupy all or part of one of the units, with an entry along or facing at least one sidewalk.” Does this mean the retail / community space cannot be a freestanding structure on the site? I would appreciate more clarity on this if possible.

A: The retail space can be a freestanding structure, yes. In that case it would count as one of the 6-10 total units. It could also be part of a live-work unit, as long as it has direct access from the public right of way.

Please note: If you don’t see your question addressed here, please send or resend it to lowrise@lacity.org, with the subject line “Low-Rise FAQ.” Thank you!