turned an awkwardly-shaped plot into a tiny vivid home village
lehrer architects transformed a narrow, derelict, and oddly-shaped parcel of land, into a vibrant village community able to welcome up to 150 homeless residents in los angeles. spanning only 20 feet (six meters) in width, the project provides emergency housing in 77 prefab units; additional hygiene trailers, storage, offices, communal spaces, and all the necessary services help people experiencing homelessness stabilize and eventually transition into a permanent residence.
following ‘chandler boulevard bridge home village‘, this project dubbed ‘whitsett west tiny home village’ represents another highly collaborative, experimental, and efficient solution to LA’s homelessness crisis. devoid of ‘throwaway spaces’ in the plot, the design carries a bright geometric pattern of blue, green, and yellow shades to an extremely thin sliver of land, previously abandoned and unused.all images courtesy of lehrer architects
colored shapes create a sense of community
the architects (see more here) first sought to tackle the oddly-shaped plot and then to generate a coherent urban place as a complete and energizing community. the white envelopes produced by pallet shelter, were delivered flat to be assembled on site. the shelters were placed next to each other, outlining the common outside spaces in between. the 8 ft (2.4 m) square tiny houses can be fast constructed providing autonomous and conditioned space that ensures safety and privacy for each resident who lives within.
the shared spaces function as the focal point of these places, enhancing community members to meet and interact. the two largest communal areas are located centrally, providing primary eating and gathering spaces for all members. an 8 ft tall fence was constructed along the freeway side, serving as a sound barrier to decrease noise and provide privacy. meanwhile, lehrer architects strategically incorporated the existing trees to offer a shady space and visual separation from the streets outside.
the ‘whitsett west tiny home village’ is the latest project in the city’s program offering a blueprint to other densely populated urban centers. it is positioned at the site of an existing homeless encampment, between the 170 freeway and some industrial shipping facilities and parking lots. the city invested in bringing new infrastructure to the location – shelter, utilities, and services – to serve the existing unhoused community and limit its members’ displacement.
‘a profound joy of these projects is the necessity for — and intensity of — their visual presence. every tool in our visual palette was employed starting with perspective, procession, and color. if beauty breeds honor and respect, there are no more deserving groups than our sisters and brothers on the streets,’ added michael b. lehrer, founder, lehrer architects LA.
‘the city quickly transitioned to tiny homes for the unhoused when the pandemic began, and this format has allowed us to build eight tiny home villages to date over the last year and half that accommodate 1,047 individuals. there are eight more of these tiny home villages in the planning and construction phases, which will provide places for 1,061 additional people,’ stated marina quinónez, the homeless facilities program manager and architect with the bureau of engineering.