Frequently Asked Questions


For more information about Adia, our services, and our projects, please refer to the questions and answers below. If you have questions that are not answered here, please feel free to contact us. (Refer to the Contact page for more information.)

The questions have been divided into several categories for your convenience.

1) Questions about The Adia Company

2) Questions about Adia’s Services & Projects

3) Miscellaneous Questions


Questions about The Adia Company

What does Adia mean?

Adia is a name, not an acronym.

We chose "Adia" because we like simplicity and elegance of the word and the fact that it sounds like “idea”—which is the essence of what our company does: create, innovate, and spread ideas. The fact that “Adia” has no existing social meaning and is essentially undefined was also a perk, giving us freedom to create meaning.

We do use Adia informally as an acronym (“affordable design | innovation | architecture”) but the name preceded the acronym.

You call yourself an idea firm, but you show mostly architecture. Why?

Creating ideas, innovating existing ideas, and solving problems in creative ways is the essence of everything we do at Adia. We use the same thought process whether we’re designing a building or dissolving a problem with creative solutions.

Adia offers services in architecture, design, and innovation. The reason we show mostly architectural work on our website is that it is visual and less subject to client-company confidentiality. Obviously, when clients come to us with problems (in search of creative solutions), we’re not allowed to discuss these publicly. And most of the time our contributions result in actions, increased efficiencies, or cost savings—not visual images. So instead we show architecture and design work that illustrates innovation and creative problem solving but does not compromise client privacy and confidentiality.

How do you maintain innovation?

Our business model includes several checks and balances to insure that we maintain a continual spirit of innovation. Please refer to the section entitled Our Secret to Staying Innovative on The Adia Revolution page for more information.

What do you mean by “affordable”?

“Affordable” means many different things to different people, and carries many connotations. Please see the section entitled What We Mean by "Affordable" on The Adia Revolution page.

Why haven’t I heard of Adia?

If you haven’t heard of us before, it is probably because we are a new company—and because a lot of our work is confidential.

Also, as company policy we do not pay for advertising, and prefer to spend more time creating new things than talking about what we’ve created. We believe in the old-fashioned way of doing exceptional work that makes headlines and makes clients happy—and letting word of mouth do the rest. This forces us to stay innovative and to maintain a high standard of quality for our work.

When was Adia founded?

Adia is a young company. Lukas Petrash, the founder of Adia, has been practicing architectural design and creative problem solving on his own for almost a decade. Wanting to use something besides his own name in publications, over the years he began calling his company Adia. As others joined him, he felt it appropriate to use this neutral name. Adia became the official company name in 2009.

Who is Adia’s founder?

Adia was founded by Lukas Petrash. Lukas was born in Dallas and raised in Southern California. He studied architecture at the University of Southern California, and Housing & Urbanization at Harvard University.

Can I invest?

Adia is a privately held company which has traditionally rejected investment offers in order to maintain focus on what is best for the earth and best for maintaining innovation—not what yields the highest quarterly profits.

However, we are quickly growing and often receive project requests far beyond our capacity. We may be open to investment in the future. If you would like to discuss investment opportunities, please contact us.


Questions about Adia’s Professional Services & Projects

What are Adia’s architectural specialties?

Probably the best way to understand our specialties and interests is to look at pictures of the types of work we’ve done.

Housing is our primary architectural interest at Adia because it affects everyone—and because there seem to be shortages and insufficiencies around the world. Though museums, shopping centers, and monumental architecture can be more exciting and glamorous to design, we feel that housing impacts people on a daily basis and can make the greatest impact on people’s lives.

In everything we do, we are interested in promoting and innovating sustainable design techniques and showing how environmental design can add value. We are very interested in ideas for indoor/outdoor living, and in urban placemaking: “architecture of the outdoors.”

We are also interested in alternative building strategies: adaptive reuse, prefabrication, high-tech factory construction, etc. Transportable architecture has always intrigued us because it allows for revolutionary construction processes and integration with cost-saving technologies—resulting in increased affordability, higher precision, and faster construction.

How does Adia select clients and projects?

Unfortunately, we receive more requests for work than we can fulfill, so we often have to turn down work. In order to decide which work requests to accept and which to pass on, we consider several things:

1) Does the project match our interests and the direction of our company? Does it challenge us? These are the most important criterion in our consideration.

2) Could another company do the work, or does it require the Adia touch? Every company has a particular specialty or niche. We like to focus our energy on work which takes advantage of our unique talents, and pass on generic work or work which we feel others could do better.

In general, we seek projects that allow us to pursue new heights in our areas of interest, and that have the most significant impact on society as a whole. This does not necessarily mean we prefer large projects; it means we prefer projects with broad implications and benefits. It may be a house, if the house sets an example or introduces a new idea.

Is there a waiting list?

Yes and no. To maintain an exceptional level of quality and avoid becoming “corporate” and inefficient, we guard against growing our company too quickly. This means that we cannot take every project, and sometimes have several projects on a “waiting list.”

Rather than expand our company to accommodate more work (at the risk of compromising quality), we have expanded the flexibility of our services. We do not have time to create and carry out full design development procedures for every project we receive, so we offer schematic design services and second opinions on existing designs in an effort to help more people in less time. In other words, if you just want a creative floor plan, or have an existing design that you would like us to improve, we can help.

We recommend contacting us even if you don’t think you’ll be ready to build something for a few years. Life is full of unexpected circumstances. We sometimes have clients cancel or postpone due to unexpected circumstances. Also, we may be in your region while working on another project, and would like to at least meet you.

Though the waiting list is not strictly first-come, first-served—but takes several factors into account—we do our best to honor those who were first to contact us.

I want a home. What’s the process?

Creating a great home is more than just creating great architecture. It’s about creating the perfect match. There is no defined “process” since every client and project is unique. Some clients need an architectural design; some just want a second opinion on an existing design; some want a completed house (turnkey). The first thing to do is to simply contact us.

There is a waiting list, so it’s best to contact us as soon as possible—even if the project is still in the dream stage. Also, if we know ahead of time and happen to be in your region on other business, we can schedule a visit.

We believe that it’s impossible to design good architecture without first getting to know the people who will inhabit it. It’s like tailor-making a suit without the wearer present. We like to take time to get to know our clients (the future inhabitants), observe living patterns, listen to dreams and desires, etc. We also spend time to document and photograph the site, note any potential advantages or restrictions, map the vegetation and sun/wind patterns, and get a feel for the local culture and climate. This is all an integral part of our design process.

Depending on the location, the client’s desires, and the availability of labor and materials near the site, the next step is to discuss construction options with the client. There are a variety of options.

In the case of our internationally delivered homes, we still visit the clients and the site before designing the homes. We design the home from the site (with the family), and then have it built and shipped from the U.S. where the materials are cheap and specialized labor is available. To keep costs low, we generally schedule visits with several potential clients during an international trip.

For charitable organizations and/or speculative developers, we do design mass-reproducible homes built for maximum comfort, flexibility, and value. But for all other clients, all designs are original and individually tailored to meet the client’s desires and complement the climate/site.

Can you help me build my own house?

We’re working on it, and hope to be able to offer this option soon.

In an ever-increasing effort to provide good homes to people around the world who could not otherwise afford homes, we have considered offering a “Build-It-Yourself” option for our line of internationally delivered homes.

We realize that for many young people and families around the world it is almost impossible to afford any house—much less a nice house. Wages and real estate prices are increasingly out of balance. We are working to combat this.

Especially now in the wake of the global recession, we realize that many people have time and energy but no money. Some are unemployed, while others are employed at jobs far beneath their skill levels. To take time off and build a house—saving tens of thousands of dollars on labor—makes more sense now than it ever did.

Building a home yourself is not easy, but it has lifelong rewards and can cut the construction cost almost in half, making homeownership a possibility for those who otherwise could not afford a home. 

Since jobs are so scarce right now, we’re even considering offering an international eco-building training program. We would teach people how to build and oversee their work as they build their first house—perhaps their own house. Having learned the skill set and had a chance to see whether they enjoy building, they could then build others’ houses for a living. There’s always a shortage of houses, and now there’s a shortage of jobs. We feel this could be a real opportunity.

Do you design expensive homes, or just affordable ones?

We design all kinds of homes. However, since many architects can design fancy homes, we like to invest our efforts in meeting an unmet demand: good affordable homes. We like a challenge, and feel that any innovations we introduce for affordable housing have broader social implications.

Our portfolio currently includes homes from 300 S.F. to 4,000 S.F., and other design projects ranging from 40 S.F. to 100,000+ S.F.

See also What We Mean by "Affordable" on The Adia Revolution page.

I want an MCDhouse. How can I get one?

This question is asked so frequently that we included a detailed explanation directly on the MCDhouse page: Why Can’t We All Have a $12,000 MCDhouse?

What does “M.C.D.” stand for?

We are often asked what the initials “M.C.D.” stand for. Actually, it’s just the initials of the owner for whom the MCDhouse was built.

I want an adiaHouse, but a different size/style. Can you do that?

Of course. The technology and home-packaging system we developed for the adiaHouse can be used to build and ship a house of any size and any architectural style—provided it is built of wood. Actually, the larger the house the lower the cost of construction and transportation per square foot.

We realize that the name “adiaHouse” confuses some people. The name “adiaHouse” refers to a line of houses that we offer—not to a specific floor plan or unit design.

The images of the adiaHouse shown on our website represent only one example—the first generation adiaHouse developed for Homes 4 Hope.

What makes the adiaHouse different from other transportable houses?

There are many differences (enumerated below), but ultimately we feel it’s the quality of design and quality of life the adiaHouse offers that are the main differences.

1) The adiaHouses are real homes—not temporary shelters, mobile homes, or second-class housing. They are built of wood and traditional, trusted materials—not synthetic manufactured materials, metal, or plastic like many other internationally-delivered homes. They don’t have thin walls or strange finishes; in fact, the adiaHouses in Italy have twice the wall thickness and insulation of standard American homes.      

2) Many homes produced in a factory (whether all or in part) are “modular.” They come in only a limited number of shapes and designs. With the adiaHouse, there’s not a predefined look or floor plan. They can be any size, any style, any floor plan. The term “adiaHouse” refers to a process of designing, building, and shipping the house—not to a particular house or floor plan.

3) People usually associate the low cost of transportable housing with low quality. Unlike other companies, our low cost doesn’t come from cutting corners, skirting codes, or using inferior materials. It comes from smart design, efficient production, and an efficient business model with low overhead. Refer to The Adia Revolution page for more information about how we cut costs.

Do you make homes out of shipping containers?

Yes, but they are not commercially available yet. We feel that in order to make shipping-container housing viable, there are some technological advances that need to happen first. Shipping container housing is not as simple as it sounds, and we wouldn't sell something that we would not live in ourselves.

If you would like to know more about the challenges of shipping container homes—and why they're not as easy or inexpensive as they sound—you may be interested in Lukas’s article: "What Is Preventing the Practical Development of Shipping Containers as Mobile Dwelling Units in the U.S.?" It is available for download from his personal website:

What makes your architecture green?

There are many things. Please see the Proud to Be Green page for more information.

Why don’t you participate in LEED?

We realize this is a surprising stance for us to take, and we are upfront with our clients about why we do not participate in LEED certification. Please refer to the section entitled "What about LEED?" on the Proud to Be Green page.


Miscellaneous Questions

Can I publish your work or post it on my blog?

We are grateful for all those who like our work and help promote it. Depending on the type of post or publication, we have different procedures. We do expect that every post and publication would be done with integrity in accordance with copyright laws, and properly credit Adia as the source.

1) Basic Blog Entry: If all you want is to provide a link from your blog to a portion of Adia’s website—with text you have written yourself and no more than two (2) of our images—you may do so without requesting permission or notifying us. We do expect you to cite Adia as the source.

2) Detailed Blog Entry with Multiple Images: If you plan to post more than two (2) images or to use substantial text from our website, we request that you ask permission first out of professional courtesy. Generally we have no problems granting permission, but sometimes we have pending mainstream publications which restrict our rights to freely grant permission to others.

3) Publications: For official publications—whether in print, on the Internet, or on T.V.—we require that you obtain permission from us in writing. We are generally more than happy to cooperate and provide extra details, photos, and “insider” information. But sometimes we have arrangements with other editors or magazines that require exclusive first rights to publication and limit our ability to freely grant permission to publish. Refer to the Contact page for more information.

Under no circumstances do we allow the manipulation, alteration, or re-appropriation of images, drawings, or text.

I like the artistic banners at the top of the screen. What are they?

The Adia banner backgrounds were created from textiles designed by Eleonora Briguglia ("Ellie"), a professional Italian textile designer, eco-activist, and good friend of Adia. Ellie lives in Sicily and spends her time managing her family's organic farm and creating art. Surprising humble for a graduate of London's Central Saint Martin’s (one of the world's leading design institutions), Ellie spent years as a professional textile designer in London, Paris, and India.

To view samples of her textiles or learn more about how you can order your own custom designs, click here.

To help spread the word about sustainable living, Eleonora invites people from around the world to visit her family’s organic farm in Petralia Sottana, Sicily. She teaches organic gardening, organic cooking (in the Sicilian tradition), and likes to show people how easy it is to live naturally and create simple, delicious meals from scratch. She also teaches informal textile design and watercolor courses.

For more information, please visit or email Eleonora directly at

When will America’s Housing Contradiction be available? Is it possible to pre-order?

The book manuscript is 80 percent complete. However, due to the overwhelming number of design projects Lukas is currently involved in, the book has been placed on hold.

It is not possible to pre-order the book, but you may request that we notify you when the book becomes available. Please see the Contact page for more information.

For more information about the book, refer to Lukas’s personal website: See the “Written Work” section on the bio page for background information about the book, or download a summary and table of contents from the “Books & Papers” page.

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