New Tiny Home Villages for the Homeless in Los Angeles Designed by Lehrer Architects

New Tiny Home Villages for the Homeless in Los Angeles Designed by Lehrer Architects,

Lehrer Architects designed the homeless village of Whitsett West in Los Angeles,

in partnership with Los Angeles-based architects and engineers.

Located in North Hollywood, the project is their fourth collaboration in the past seven months,

designed to be a prototype for transitional housing formats.

Working alongside several city agencies, Whitsett West has been designed to create significant urban and social assets.

Directly led by the Office of Engineering and Ford Construction,

Lehrer Architects LA designed the urban site with strategic use of color and modular composition to build the community.

The goal was to destigmatize homeless housing by making these villages their signature places throughout the city.

 

New Tiny Home Villages for the Homeless in Los Angeles Designed by Lehrer Architects

Project Features

The project was built on an extremely thin plot of land, about a quarter of a mile long,

sometimes only 20 feet wide, but necessary to accommodate up to 150 beds in 77 units.

In addition to cleaning and storage trailers, offices and public spaces,

also all necessary infrastructure such as electricity, rain drains, sewers, water,

ADA access and drainage.

Given the accelerated design and construction schedule,

Saticoy’s immediate challenge was to fit the units required in such a narrow, cumbersome site and odd shape.

The architects worked with incredibly long and narrow fields of vision

and distance as a way to create a cohesive urban space and spread color in a visual language to anchor a sense of village.

The white units were designed by Pallet Shelter and delivered flat and disassembled to site.

They were used as gleaming constituent objects to form their common outdoor spaces,

creating a series of smaller village communities along the long site.

The 8″ x 8″ tiny homes are quick to assemble and provide each resident with an air-conditioned, self-contained space

that the occupant can lock down for a greater sense of security, independence and privacy on the road to permanent housing.

As each of these projects evolves with its own community,

the importance of common spaces becomes paramount to the team when designing each subsequent project.

 

New Tiny Home Villages for the Homeless in Los Angeles Designed by Lehrer Architects

 

New Tiny Home Villages for the Homeless in Los Angeles Designed by Lehrer Architects

The two largest communal spaces are located in the middle,

providing essential dining and gathering spaces for all members of the community.

An 8-foot acoustic barrier was erected along the side of the highway,

to reduce noise and provide privacy for residents,

with existing trees incorporated to provide a shaded and secluded respite from the streets outside.

Lehrer Architects has adopted a core tenet of the practice of ‘there are no spaces to get rid of’,

and the designers chose geometric patterns for the design, colored in blue, green and yellow.

Whitsett West is the latest project in the city’s program to provide more beds for its homeless residents.

It is located on the site of the current homeless camp,

between Interstate 170 and some industrial charging and parking facilities.

The city has invested in bringing new infrastructure to the site, such as shelter, utilities,

and services, to serve the existing uninhabited community and limit the displacement of its members.

The construction team faced significant challenges in bringing the infrastructure to the 1,000-foot site from facilitating ADA access,

to ensuring the water was properly captured and drained, all on a very fast schedule.

The city quickly moved to tiny homes for the homeless when the pandemic began,

and this format has allowed the construction of eight small home villages so far over the past year and a half, accommodating 1,047 people.

 

New Tiny Home Villages for the Homeless in Los Angeles Designed by Lehrer Architects

 

New Tiny Home Villages for the Homeless in Los Angeles Designed by Lehrer Architects

Another eight of these cottage hamlets are in the planning and construction phases,

which will provide places for an additional 1,061 people.

This project represents another experimental approach to the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles,

taking lessons from previous projects to improve it.

And with the opening of Whitsett West, Lehrer Architects has built 500 beds with this prototype this year.

This led to the creation of a set of projects that could provide a blueprint

for other densely populated urban centers on how to seize previously neglected land and turn it into housing.

The idea is to rethink the paradigm of how to strengthen society and provide housing for vulnerable populations.

 

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