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AIA/LA hosts affordable housing tour in South L.A.

In an event that Los Angeles architect Michael Lehrer describes as "urban tourism," the American Institute of Architects' Los Angeles chapter will host a tour of recently completed affordable homes in South L.A. on March 23.

Taking a break from its usual itinerary of million-dollar homes, the AIA's latest self-guided tour will highlight five single-family homes designed by Lehrer Architects for Restore Neighborhood LA Inc.  and the city of Los Angeles. The detached homes have been built from the ground up on a tight budget on properties that have been either abandoned or foreclosed upon. The homes are for sale in the $300,000 price range and are scattered between West 52nd Street and East 99th Street.

"I think a tour like this reminds us of what an awesome city we live in and how many extraordinary residential communities exist," Lehrer said. "If we take care of our streets and respect them, hopefully it will catalyze the neighborhood."

Lehrer said he hopes the homes will be viewed as prototypes that can be applied to other areas of the city.

"The idea was to take simple ideas and express them in the culture of the neighborhood," he said. "It's the notion of elevating the everyday: How do you use space? How do you leverage the sky and natural light and orchestrate open space so there is a real sense of luxury? You want it to be both fresh and respectful. It's a very powerful modernist idea."

Tickets to the AIA/LA Affordable Housing Tour in South L.A. can be picked up beginning at 11 a.m. at Watts Towers, 1727 E. 107th St. The tour begins with a panel discussion on elevating affordable housing with representatives from Lehrer Architects LA, RNLA and the city of Los Angeles from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The tour itself is self-driven, with homes open between noon and 3 p.m. Tickets are $40 to $55 and include a free guided tour of Watts Towers from 12:30 to 3 p.m.

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lisa.boone@latimes.com

Twitter: @lisaboone19

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