The BEAN is a series of tiny mobile pods, housed in BruinHub, that offers student commuters a space to rest, study, sleep, store belongings, or simply wait out traffic. According to a 2009 study conducted by UCLA cityLAB, 43% of UCLA students commute 60 minutes or longer to campus, and nearly half of them had chosen to sleep overnight on or near campus instead of returning home.

Architecture, Construction & Design Awards 2022
First Award | Furniture Design (Built)

Project Name: BEAN
Project Category: Furniture Design (Built)
Studio Name: AN.ONYMOUS
Design Team: Marta Nowak
Year: 2019
Location: UCLA Bruin.Hub
Photography Credits: Nathan Su

BEAN | AN - Sheet2
©Nathan Su

The same survey found that 14% of long-distance commuters had experienced homelessness. The Covid-19 pandemic, along with the already high cost of living in Los Angeles, have pushed more students to live further away from campus. The strain of housing, commute, or even reliable internet access has caused a third of survey respondents at UCLA to consider withdrawing or deferring from their course.

BEAN | AN - Sheet3
©Nathan Su

The BruinHub was launched in response to these challenges, and to provide a home-away-from-home at the heart of the campus for those who, for various reasons, are unable to live on or near campus. Designed by AN.ONYMOUS in collaboration with UCLA cityLAB, the project offers one of many possible low-cost, temporary solutions that can address student housing insecurity among extreme commuters while more stable and permanent affordable housing can be provided. Situated in the John Wooden Center at UCLA, the BruinHub offers the student community a vibrant and secure gathering place for both individual and community activities.

BEAN | AN - Sheet5
©Nathan Su

The hub is accessible 24/7 with spaces for both focus and collaborative work, as well as continuous access to basic amenities such as Wi-Fi, cafe-style workstations, bathrooms, showers, a kitchenette, and a personal storage area. The key feature of the BruinHub is the BEANS. The pods are prefabricated units consisting of a CNC-cut plywood frame finished with vinyl upholstery. Conceived as a micro-environment, each BEAN is equipped with ambient lighting, an adjustable reading lamp, a power outlet for personal devices, a movable privacy screen, and a flexible upholstered interior that can be easily modified from “work” to “sleep” mode. The BEAN was designed with the aim of maximizing ergonomic comfort and efficiency while minimizing size, weight, and cost of each unit. The five color schemes are intended to create a vibrant and cohesive environment in the hub while leaving room for individual preferences and even modifications.