Born in Alabama and currently based between Portland, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, Jennifer Bonner founded MALL in 2009. MALL is a creative practice that stands for Mass Architectural Loopty Loops or Maximum Arches with Limited Liability—an acronym with built-in flexibility. By engaging “ordinary architecture” such as gable roofs and everyday materials, Bonner playfully reimagines architecture in her field.
Jennifer Bonner is Associate Professor of Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She is a 2021 United States Artist Fellow, recent recipient of the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers, Emerging Voices Award (AIA/ Young Architects Forum), Progressive Architecture (P/A) Award (Architect Magazine), and was selected for the Wallpaper Magazine Young Architect’s Directory 2019.
Jennifer Bonner/MALL responds to Los Angeles’ need for Accessory Dwelling Units with Lean-to ADU, a project referencing all-American lean-to sheds while also reinterpreting two Los Angeles architectural mainstays: the stucco box and the exaggerated false front. At its core, Lean-to ADU offers a flexible, affordable program. Designed to meet city building codes and achieve ample daylight and cross-ventilation no matter its orientation, the 515-sf home with 125-sf roof terrace can rotate to accommodate diverse lots and landscapes and is constructed from standard building materials and construction techniques that can be easily adapted.
Drawing from lean-tos, stucco boxes, and bungalows, Lean-to ADU offers a hybrid visual language that complements a wide range of LA front houses. The overall form is a textured black stucco and metal shed roof, spanning 8- to 16-feet in height, that sits neatly above a smooth white stucco box. From the east and west elevations, the roof is seen as a traditional right triangle with a gentle 3:12 pitch, while the south elevation reveals a black rectangular panel that slips down the side of the home and makes room for a small terrace offering occupants an outdoor experience while maintaining privacy from the front house. Landscape design conceived in collaboration with Martin Rickles Studio draws from the geometric forms that make up the home, with plant beds outlined in wavy metal edgers and filled with native California varietals.