January 13, 2011
Situated in an area of downtown Los Angeles fast becoming one of the largest homeless populations in the country, this project examines the role of creating a space of transformation within an extreme socioeconomic and urban context. A dense 6-story mass, Skid Row Apartments comprises 88 transitional housing units along with a series of communal spaces such as a dining area, communal kitchen, meeting rooms, outdoor gathering areas and laundry facilities. In addition, the building incorporates offices and conference rooms on the ground floor to provide social services and workshops for tenants as part of their assistance and transition back into society.
The project addresses how to counteract the insularity and hermetic nature of the inhabitants’ daily lives and concerns over safety and security, introducing openness, social spaces, and enabling a reintegration of their lives into public life as a whole. Arranged in a partially open U-shaped configuration, five floors of residential units cradle a central courtyard on top of a socle of parking and administrative functions on the ground floor. A chain of public spaces and exterior gathering areas are carved out or extruded from the mass to erode the building’s apparent solidity, creating varying depths of connection and views between the internal life of the courtyard and the world outside.
Project published in DBOOK