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Sharif, Lynch: Architecture's Venice Infill ADU - or, IDU - from above; photo courtesy Steve King Architectural Imaging
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Los Angeles Times spotlights Venice ADU by Todd Lynch and Mohamed Sharif

Nov 25, 2023

UCLA Architecture and Urban Design’s Todd Lynch and Mohamed Sharif of Sharif, Lynch: Architecture are featured in the Los Angeles Times for their award-winning Venice ADU, or accessory dwelling unit, completed in spring 2023. The Times’s Lisa Boone profiles the various design decisions behind the 1,200-square-foot ADU–or IDU, for infill dwelling unit, as Lynch and Sharif like to say–proposing that the narrow two-story project “makes the case for building up.”

“Adding housing in this condensed community is important, but this team made it something beautiful that people will enjoy,” notes the home’s owner, Ricki Alon.

Slipping into the rear half of a lot that also includes a 1990s duplex, a 1920s Bungalow, and a courtyard swimming pool, the home is lifted off the ground to preserve the pool and two parking spots. That two-car dimension ultimately dictated the ADU’s width (13 feet); from there, the architects “decided to go as high as possible,” Sharif says. Lifting the volume also created a shaded gathering space.

An aerial view of the Venice ADU, or IDU, plus before-and-after illustrations

Among other features, windows and skylights were strategized for light, cross-ventilation, and continuity from space to space.

“Perhaps most impressive, the ADU defies the notion that you can’t have parking, privacy and quality of living, including a swimming pool, on a tight infill lot with other properties,” Boone writes.

The profile also includes reflections from the rental’s current tenant, Henry Schober III, who says the strength of Lynch and Sharif’s vision lies in how the home offers peace and quiet amid a congested neighborhood, steps away from Lincoln Boulevard.

“It seems the solution to the housing crisis is building up,” Schober says.

In granting the project a 2022 Single-Family Residential Merit Award, AIA-LA’s design jury observed, “This project uses two strategies to preserve some of the backyard space: first it is lifted off the ground, and second, it is ever-so-slim. The plan is elegantly resolved, inside and out, demonstrating that living in the backyard can be better than in the front when design is capably leveraged.”

Based in Santa Monica, Sharif, Lynch: Architecture has completed several award-winning projects in metropolitan Los Angeles across various types and scales. Unifying the projects is a frank, elemental sensibility and economy of gestural and systemic means that extend and expand upon the optimism of experimental expressions of modern architecture. To this end, measured combinations of abstraction, spatial plasticity, scalar manipulation, typo-logical evolution, repetitive assembly, and material matter-of-factness result in atmospheric and aesthetic properties and theatrical qualities simultaneously spartan and luxurious, laconic yet lively.

Lynch and Sharif are each long-time faculty members at UCLA AUD. In addition to teaching professional practice, construction, and sustainable design modules, Lynch serves as AUD's Licensing Advisor for students and alumni, and Faculty Advisor for AIAS, USGBC Students, Renewable Energy Associates, and Student Action Research teams at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. He also is Principal Project Planner and Green Building Specialist at UCLA Capital Programs, enforcing UC Sustainability Policy and campus LEED certification efforts. Sharif teaches in both undergraduate and graduate design studios and technology seminars and is Director of AUD's Undergraduate Program in Architectural Studies. In addition to his professional and teaching activities, Sharif is a critic whose essays and reviews have appeared in journals, periodicals, and catalogs, including 306090, arq, Constructs, JAE, the Getty Center, and Log.

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Mohamed Sharif, Todd Lynch
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