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.
Skid Row Housing Trust, a nationally-recognized developer of permanent supportive housing, celebrated the Grand Opening of its latest development, Crest Apartments, today. Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, U.S. Representative Tony Cárdenas, and Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian, as well as architect Michael Maltzan of Michael Maltzan Architecture spoke at the celebration, which was attended by formerly-homeless residents, key partners, and community supporters.
Crest Apartments provides 64 homes to Los Angeles County’s most vulnerable homeless individuals, with comprehensive onsite supportive services to help them build healthier and more stable lives. All of Crest Apartments’ permanent supportive housing is reserved for homeless individuals who are frequent utilizers of Los Angeles County’s Department of Health Services’ emergency care, including 23 apartments set aside specifically for homeless veterans. “Permanent supportive housing reduces residents’ reliance on expensive public health care, decreasing emergency room and inpatient admissions by 77%,” said Mike Alvidrez, the Trust’s Chief Executive Officer. “A home, when paired with appropriate support services, is the most effective and compassionate solution to homelessness, and ultimately reduces public costs.”
Crest Apartments is certified LEED for Homes Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council, public transit accessible, and within walking distance of many community resources. It is the Trust’s second development completed outside of Downtown Los Angeles, and is an example of the organization’s continued commitment to providing housing options for formerly homeless individuals. “We help people transition from chronic homelessness by offering a home that is healthy, inviting and dignified,” said Dana Trujillo, the Trust’s Chief Investment and Finance Officer. “Through extensive experience, we’ve found that the physical environment is an important part of the recovery and healing process.”
Designed by Michael Maltzan Architecture, Crest Apartments has inviting, light-filled spaces distributed throughout the five-story, 45,000 square-foot project. The building’s arched form stretches the length of the narrow site, lifting above a verdant landscape that stretches across the entire ground level. Resident community spaces and social service offices are located on this lower level. “The building’s architecture and landscape form an interwoven relationship between the building and its context, between inside and out,” notes architect Michael Maltzan. “This interconnected approach strengthens the environmental performance of the building. But more importantly, it creates a series of spaces and places for the residents to come together as a community.” Connected by broad open-air pathways, individual studio apartments are on the building’s upper levels. Each apartment includes a private bathroom, kitchen, appliances, and furnishings.
Between 2015 and 2016, the San Fernando Valley experienced a 36% increase in homeless individuals, one of the largest increases in the entire County. The Trust is partnering with San Fernando Valley-based L.A. Family Housing to provide comprehensive case management, and The John Stewart Company for property management services. Trust residents are connected with a wide array of services, including: physical healthcare services, mental health services, substance abuse and detoxification services, counseling, peer support groups, life skills and employment training.
Developer: Skid Row Housing Trust
Architect: Michael Maltzan Architecture
Contractor: Morley Builders/Benchmark Contractors
Service Provider: L.A. Family Housing
Property Management: The John Stewart Company
Levitt and Rosenblum
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.
Curbed LA: How does a city keep one of its hottest neighborhoods from becoming just another enclave of the superrich?
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.
KQED: President Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, retired surgeon Ben Carson, has no experience in housing or homeless services. He’s never held elected office or a government job.
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.