Posts tagged with "Supportive housing":

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First renderings revealed for the Weingart Center’s trio of Skid Row towers

The first images of the Weingart Center’s Downtown Los Angeles towers have been released by San Diego–based Joseph Wong Design Associates, and the supportive housing towers are shaping up to stand apart from their neighbors. Rising across from each other on 6th Street and wedged between San Pedro and Crocker streets, the two projects (three buildings total) could provide up to 1,000 units of affordable housing on Skid Row once complete. Wrapping around the Weingart Center’s headquarters at 556 San Pedro Street, the new complexes will help expand the Center’s mission of providing transitionary housing and long-term case management to the neighborhood’s homeless population. According to the Weingart Center’s website, the 210,000-square-foot first phase of the project at 554 S. San Pedro Street will be split between two buildings and offer 80 percent permanent supportive housing for the formerly homeless, and 20 percent for affordable housing. Besides the new 228 efficiency units and 50 one-bedroom units, renderings show several open-air green areas embedded throughout each tower for residents to enjoy along with accessible rooftop space. The first phase will also include a 6,000-square-foot multipurpose area, recreation and fitness facilities, and be built to an unspecified level of LEED certification. An 18 story U-shaped building that wraps around an interior courtyard is shown in the renderings, while the separate 12 story tower hasn’t been shown in the images released. Across the street at 600 S South Pedro Street is the 19-story second site. Projected to bring 303 units to the area, 298 of them set aside for very low income individuals, the tower will also incorporate 20,000 square feet of ground floor retail. Featuring a four story wrap-around glass curtain wall at the base and patterned with cladding similar to its nearby partner, the two towers are set to make a splash in the low-slung neighborhood when finished. While other dedicated low income housing buildings in the area have traditionally been of the less expensive wood frame variety and much shorter, the Weingart Center’s ambitious project is part of a growing trend in the supportive housing world. Skid Row Housing Trust, another human services organization in the area, has also filed plans for a 77,000-square-foot, 14-story development nearby. Chelsea Investment Corporation is developing the project, and estimated completion for the first phase is in spring 2021 with the exact phasing of each site unknown at this time.
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A bold form mixes public and private spaces in Brooks + Scarpa’s latest supportive housing project

The new 52-unit permanent supportive-housing project for formerly homeless individuals, many of them veterans, designed by Los Angeles firm Brooks + Scarpa, takes its name—The Six—from military slang for a person who “has your back.” The project is Skid Row Housing Trust (SRHT)’s first outside Downtown Los Angeles, and it continues the organization’s very successful run developing functional, neighborhood-scale, and formally transformative housing.

From up the street, The Six immediately impresses; the nearly scale-less stark-white block and its oversized opening to the street reveal, as one gets closer, the human scale contained within. A main skeletal stair anchors the inside of a vast courtyard and draws the eye into the innards of the building. This attention to sequence, for Brooks + Scarpa principal Angela Brooks, is something her office imparts to each project, no matter the type or size. “Where’s the threshold between the neighborhood and your house?” Brooks asked. “If it’s just a single line, that’s too thin. We want it to be deep with a sense of public, semipublic, and then finally private [spaces] along the way.”

In a careful exercise of balancing transparency and security, Brooks + Scarpa’s design lives up to sentiment “I’ve got your back” by achieving a comfortable clarity in volumes that open up and lift residents above the street and neighborhood, simultaneously providing a sense of security and privacy.

When arriving at The Six, one cuts across the front yard—past planted, open areas set back from the street—landing under an expansive overhang that encloses a security entrance and a community- and computer-room cluster. Next, one transitions into a smaller space: a lobby that shares the floor with administrative offices, a conference room, a public computer lab, and parking. The second level, accessible by an elevator from the entry or via a concealed front stair, reveals the large public courtyard perched above the street.

From the courtyard level, the apartments and their circulation balconies stack up in a “U” formation four levels above, defining the supertall, breezy space within. Also on this level, a TV room with couches, laundry facilities, and a small kitchen fills out the public common areas. The building’s fundamental volumetric and formal gestures simultaneously work with its site orientation to maximize daylighting, exposure to prevailing winds, and natural ventilation.

The areas that can be seen from the outside are the most public of the common spaces offered to residents in the project, and their placement at the front—in the window seat—allows for a shared, privileged relationship to the street and suggests a powerful shift in dependence for the folks living at The Six.

Brooks said, “We made sure to construct a sequence of spaces that help you come into the site itself.… Once you get onto the second level, you see the street again in another way.” She added that by pulling the elevator and reception desk deep into the building, the designers allow “people to have some space and time through which to walk into something, to contemplate something, to think about something, to say hello to neighbors.”

It’s this simple and thoughtful implementation of careful and confident architecture that gives The Six its strong humanity of place. It’s a rare experience in Los Angeles, where the development process and its built manifestations typically find design opportunities in disposable surface treatments or hollow stylistic flourishes. With SRHT’s dedication to quality projects and real architecture, the organization will likely achieve more breakout projects in the near future thanks to the recent passage of initiatives, at the county and city level, that allocate resources toward preventing and ending homelessness.

If The Six can be a precedent moving forward, it’s likely SRHT will continue to provide L.A. more like-minded projects that are much more than a roof overhead.

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Lorcan O’Herlihy breaks ground on 26-unit supportive housing complex in South Los Angeles

Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA) has broken ground on MLK1101 Supportive Housing, a 26-unit affordable housing complex in South Los Angeles. The 19,000-square-foot project—built for nonprofit housing developer Clifford Beers Housing—will bring supportive housing for formerly homeless veterans as well as chronically homeless and low-income households to a neighborhood experiencing widespread developmental pressure.  The project site is located in an area surrounding the University of Southern California campus and Exposition Park, adjacent to the recently-extended Expo Line and close to the currently-under-construction Crenshaw Line. The four-story project is made up entirely of affordable units and is planned around a central courtyard that is lifted above the street level and located atop a covered parking structure. The elevated plaza is accessed from a broad stairway that touches down at the street, between the L-shaped apartment building and a small, two-story storefront structure. Designs for the staircase incorporate amphitheater seating that looks out over Martin Luther King Boulevard. The storefront is located at street level to engage with the sidewalk further and is capped by a faceted green roof that on the second floor, contains a community room. The adjacent apartments are organized around an L-shaped, single-loaded corridor that looks down onto the courtyard below. That walkway steps out at each of the top two floors, creating habitable, shaded areas underneath. The corridor, outdoor but cloaked in shade, is designed to create a cool, intermediary zone between the building exterior and the inside of the units, thereby facilitating passive ventilation. To further this effect, the building’s facades are clad in reflective metal panels made from 100 percent recycled materials. In plan, the units are contained within slightly-canted perimeter walls that kink inwardly along the long exposure of the building’s longest arm. The shorter arm of the L is efficiently laid out as a carved block of joined apartments. The designers included variable hallway geometries to add visual and spatial interest to a structure that otherwise features stacked floors of identical plans containing efficiency, one- and three-bedroom units. The project is due to finish construction in mid-2018. LINK Landscape Architecture served as landscape architect on the project.
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154-unit supportive housing project by Alexander Gorlin Architects opens up in the Bronx

Yesterday non-profit firm Breaking Ground celebrated the opening of 1191 Boston Road, a project in the Bronx for formerly homeless New Yorkers, high users of Medicaid, seniors, and low-income adults. The scheme was financed by the New York State Medicaid Redesign Team which uses housing solutions to reduce healthcare costs. Costing $47 million and accommodating 154 units, the design came from Manhattan-based Alexander Gorlin Architects. The firm has worked with Breaking Ground before with another project in the Bronx. Building on that project's success (it won a Residential Architect award in 2014) the firm has continued to design supportive housing.  Social services are central to the building's programming: the ground floor includes a job center, educational facilities, and a medical center. "By providing stable, affordable housing with on-site support, residents will live a better quality of life, and reduce costly emergency room visits," Breaking Ground said in a press release.

Speaking with The Architect's Newspaper, Alexander Gorlin said that zoning was a "priority" for the project. To facilitate the number of units that he and Breaking Ground wanted to create, the building had to be stepped back from the street. Its "animated facade" features an array of colors set against gray brickwork.

Other amenities offered in the building include a roof terrace, computer lab, bike storage facilities, fitness room, garden, and an on-site laundry area. On the ground floor, an undulating array of fiberboard panels can be found on the ceiling, a nod to the schist rock which used to found in the area.

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Archtober Building of the Day #18> Navy Green Supportive Housing

Archtober Building of the Day #18 Navy Green Supportive Housing 40 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn Architecture in Formation The design is “not subtle,” said Matthew Bremer, principal at Architecture in Formation, of the design of the Navy Green Supportive Housing Facility in Brooklyn. The bright red, corrugated-metal facade references the neighborhood’s brick townhouses, and also the sea of red brake lights on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, visible from the site at night. The corrugated metal gives the building an industrial look and responds to the “grittiness” of the Brooklyn Navy Yard down the street. This bold building is one of four towers in the larger Navy Green development. Formerly an industrial area owned by the city, Navy Green will ultimately be a mixed-income community of apartment buildings and townhouses that share a central courtyard, or green. The building at 40 Vanderbilt Avenue is the only one considered “supportive housing”—the building behind it is made up of affordable units, another one has low- to moderate-income residents, and a third will be condos. The 23 townhouses will also be rental unit to incentivize first-time homeowners. Navy Green Supportive Housing has a unique program with 97 single-occupancy units. Two-thirds of the residents are formerly homeless from various shelters and facilities. The remaining one-third is from the community. The building provides each resident with a caseworker and access to vocational training, a fitness room, and a variety of social programming. In addition to the formal services, the building offers spaces for informal socialization and activity. The bright, double-height lobby is both a comfortable seating area where residents can gather, and an ADA ramp from the street level entrance to the slightly higher courtyard at the rear of the building. The ramp curves through the space with integrated seating throughout, creating an amphitheater-like space, or “rampitheater,” as Bremer referred to it. A resident lounge “floats” on the mezzanine above. To encourage residents to take the stairs, the stairwell walls are bright red and windows look out on to the courtyard. The corridors are painted bright greens and blues with large stenciled numbers indicating the unit numbers. Each unit has a 150.5-square-foot, oak-floored main space, a kitchenette, bathroom, and closet. When abiding by NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development standards, architects are not left with much flexibility for design, but Bremer noted that the basic but high-quality furnishings and playful fenestration add a lot to the small spaces. Navy Green Supportive Housing takes into account all of the needs of its residents. Although the units are single-occupancy, the building is a communal experience meant to foster a true “pride of place.”

Emma Pattiz is Policy Coordinator for the AIA New York Chapter.

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Alexander Gorlin Wraps Supportive Housing in a Binary Skin

An aluminum rain screen and locally-sourced brick articulate a two-part program.

The Brook, developed by Common Ground and designed by Alexander Gorlin Architects, is part of a new wave of affordable housing communities popping up all over the United States. Unlike the public housing projects of the mid-twentieth century, which focused exclusively on housing and tended to suffer from a lack of routine maintenance, The Brook, located in the Bronx, combines apartments and support services under one roof. This duality is manifested in the envelope’s contrasting material palette—dark grey brick for the residential spaces, raw aluminum over the community facilities. “The idea of the exterior was to symbolize, as well as reflect, the internal program of Common Ground as supportive housing,” said Alexander Gorlin. “It’s inspired in part by Le Corbusier and his idea of expressing the program on the facade, and expressing the public functions as a means of interrupting a repetitive facade." The Brook’s communal areas, which are clustered at the corner of the 92,000-square-foot, six-story building, are marked on the exterior by ES Tolga Dry Seal System aluminum panels from Allied Metal. In addition to articulating the change in program, the metal facade “represents coming together, creating a landmark for the neighborhood as well,” said Gorlin, who noted that Common Ground “liked from the beginning marking the corner as a special symbolic place.” The metal-clad corner also functions “urbanistically, to break the building into three parts, break down its scale,” he explained. A series of inset terraces interrupt the grey aluminum walls with splashes of red. “At one level it’s a bright color to be cheerful and optimistic,” said Gorlin. “In China, red is a symbol of good luck. It also symbolizes the heart of the program and the community.”
  • Facade Manufacturer Allied Metal
  • Architects Alexander Gorlin Architects
  • Facade Consultant Justin Henshell
  • Facade Installer Mountco Construction
  • Location Bronx, NY
  • Date of Completion 2011
  • System prefabricated aluminum rain screen
  • Products ES Tolga Dry Seal System aluminum rain screen, locally-sourced brick
The Brook’s 190 studio apartments are distributed to either side of the community facilities, along wings punctuated with square and rectangular windows. “We decided to vary the window placement so it would create a more lively asymmetrical pattern. It’s not just a simple grid,” said Gorlin. The designers clad the housing areas in locally sourced dark grey brick. “Brick is a very noble, ancient material,” observed Gorlin. As a good insulator, it also contributes to the building’s LEED Silver status. Other sustainability strategies include a green roof, a special boiler system, building management technology that turns off the lights when a room is not in use, and the use of recycled and non-offgassing materials. The Brook was erected on a vacant lot in a neighborhood once known for pervasive blight. Early in the design process, said Gorlin, the architects and developers discussed installing bars over the lower windows. “It was determined very consciously not to do it, even though there’s glass on the corner,” he explained. “We decided not to put bars up or make it look in any way prison-like. In fact, by not doing so it’s been maintained in perfect shape. People in the neighborhood think it’s a high-end condo.” Gorlin calls Common Ground “a miraculous kind of client in terms of what they do and the manner in which they deal with the community.” The Brook, he said, represents a new approach not just to affordable housing, but to homelessness. “To actually build permanent housing for homeless people” is a unique opportunity, he said. “It’s not just a shelter, but a place to start over in life.”
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Supporting Supportive Housing

Los Angeles' Permanent Supportive Housing program got a much-needed emergency shot of funds this week: a $5.2 million pledge from the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) and Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Though Los Angeles has more homeless people than any other city in the US, only in the last few years has it begun to catch up with other cities' level of services. 2005 saw a city-wide push to build supportive housing, a model borrowed from New York that combines affordable housing with services to help residents deal with mental illness, drug abuse, and disabilities. Top architecture firms helped fill out the new supportive housing landscape, with innovative projects such as Michael Maltzan's 95-unit, radially-arranged New Carver Apartments, Pugh + Scarpa's 46-unit Step Up on Fifth facility in Santa Monica, and Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects' 82-unit Skid Row Housing in downtown Los Angeles. But the economic downturn put a freeze on construction of new supportive housing and has forced program cuts, hiring freezes and layoffs. Out of the over 2,000 units under development since the program was launched five years ago, about 600 are shovel-ready but lack the financing to proceed, due to local government budget crises and frozen credit markets. The CSH and Hilton foundation's $5.2 million in grants and low-interest loans should get most of those projects going again. Since studies show that supportive housing actually saves the city money -- reducing costly time in jails and hospitals -- that may turn out to be not just a good deed, but a smart investment as well.