Architect’s Newspaper: 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.
Curbed LA: Another major new affordable housing development may be on the way to Skid Row, where sleek new projects like Michael Maltzan’s Star Apartments have been rising lately amid the aging single resident occupancy hotels that have served residents for decades.
Skid Row Housing Trust’s The Six, a permanent supportive housing property designed by Brooks + Scarpa for formerly homeless individuals and veterans in MacArthur Park, receives the 2017 Institute Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) at the AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando, FL today. The Institute Honor Awards are AIA’s highest recognition for excellence in architecture, interior architecture and urban design. Selected from roughly 700 submissions, The Six is one of 23 recipients located throughout the world that are being honored this year. It is the only project selected in Southern California.
The Six will also receive a 2017 AIA Housing Design Award, which celebrates homes that combine beauty, safety, and sustainability. The Six is specifically recognized for affordable housing design that meets the specialized needs of residents. “The Six was designed from the ground up to facilitate healing and community both within and beyond the building’s walls,” said Mike Alvidrez, CEO of Skid Row Housing Trust.
The Six offers 52 beautiful, safe, and supportive homes to individuals who have experienced homelessness, with 18 of them set aside specifically for veterans. In the military, “got your six” means “I’ve got your back.” Brooks + Scarpa’s innovative design thoughtfully balances privacy with opportunities to connect with the community. The Six has onsite supportive services and 24-hour property management on the ground floor, and a spacious courtyard and community rooms on the second floor that offer peaceful respite and space for social gatherings. A bridge on the fifth floor spans the front of the courtyard, a gesture that helps to bring the scale of the building down to a more pedestrian level, and heightens the interior-exterior connectivity of the courtyard and streetscape. Incorporating energy-efficiency measures that exceed standard practice, including passive design strategies that maximize natural light and airflow, The Six received LEED Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Located in MacArthur Park, Los Angeles, The Six is a striking addition to a neighborhood that has one of highest population densities the United States. It is an example of the innovative projects Measure HHH could help fund throughout the City of Los Angeles. “We intentionally design our buildings so that they stand out as iconic, community-serving, architectural landmarks,” said Dana Trujillo, the Trust’s Chief Investment and Finance Officer. “We want to tell residents that they are important through the building that’s now their home.”
Curbed: It seems fairly uncontroversial to say that everybody deserves a good living environment. But ask Michael Webb, author of Building Community: New Apartment Architecture, about the state of high-rise design in today’s cities, and he’ll tell you it’s not obvious that designers, and especially developers, have that idea in mind.
Fast Company Co.Design: Every night, an estimated 50,000 people sleep on the streets of Los Angeles—a figure that’s skyrocketed by 35% in the last year alone. The problem is so bad that the mayor has declared a state of emergency, and in November, L.A. voters approved a $1.2 billion bond to build 10,000 apartment units over the next decade for the chronically homeless. But it takes two to five years to build this kind of permanent housing because of the city’s complex building code and zoning rules—and the city needs a fix right now.
The Architect’s Newspaper: The San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles has a reputation as a quintessentially suburban enclave. But, as the inner-city areas of Los Angeles have begun to embrace the hallmarks of traditional urbanism—increased housing density, fixed-transit infrastructure, and a dedication to pedestrian space—the valley has found itself parroting those same shifts in its own distinct way.
Fast Company Co.Design: Designed by Brooks +Scarpa, The Six offers housing and support services to one of the city’s most vulnerable populations.
Architect Magazine: The Six, a new affordable housing project in Los Angeles’ MacArthur Park neighborhood, is, at first glance, a bit of a formal puzzle. As seen from the east, with its giant opening into a courtyard, the newest building for the Skid Row Housing Trust looks like a big white Möbius strip, a beguiling sequence of balconies, stairways, and overlooks. Yet all this aesthetic complexity serves a very important purpose: The building’s 52 below-market-rate apartments are reserved for disabled veterans, and the scheme, from local architects Brooks + Scarpa, is in fact a carefully crafted system for fostering a sense of community.
AIA: Eschewing the mold of traditional shelter models by emphasizing group and social spaces, this 42,500-square-foot housing project provides 52 units, support services, and rehab for formerly homeless disabled veterans and individuals in Los Angeles’ MacArthur Park section.
Architect Magazine: Designers of ultra-luxury apartment buildings may hope that the innovative research supported by their big budgets can also help to improve affordable housing. But there’s little evidence supporting the claim.