Chandler Tiny Homes Village for the Homeless, designed, permitted, and built in just over three months, is helping Los Angeles place people in “bridge” shelters as they await permanent housing. An example of the city’s primary emergency response to homelessness, the project is an aggressive and timely template for addressing Los Angeles’ crisis.
In 2019, the design team completed a commission to design a congregate shelter for dozens of unhoused residents in Los Angeles. The emergency housing was built by general contractors, and the successful collaboration was celebrated by both residents and city officials. When the opportunity arose to form a design-build entity to create this village, the contractor approached the team as its preferred architect.
“A colorful, energetic assault on homelessness. This village offers smart, affordable, safe, and simple homes in a respectful way.” – Jury comment
Using prefabricated pallet shelters, the village transformed an overlooked and oddly shaped infill lot into 39 one- or two-person units for vulnerable and unhoused Angelinos. At 8 feet by 8 feet, the shelters are easy to assemble quickly; provide private, conditioned space for those occupying them; and add real value to what was a largely forgotten property. It remains close to but separated from adjacent housing and a vital neighborhood park, respectfully rounding out the neighborhood.
The design team worked with numerous agencies to develop a plan for a model community space that addresses spatial character, color, and logistical efficiency. The project’s reduced costs and construction schedule have influenced several others. In addition to the use of color, chain-link fence, the extensive use of which was required, delineates graphic patterns that provide visual separation from the surrounding neighborhood and adjacent busway.
“The design and its many offshoots transform underutilized urban spaces into fresh new settings where communities can prosper.” – Jury comment
The village also includes a collective dining space, a pet play area, showers and restrooms, pest control, secure storage, and assistance with accessing city services. In addition, the project relied on pre-approved mobile building simplified permitting, which also supported quick off-site fabrication and immediate on-site maintenance and repairs.
“A colorful, energetic assault on homelessness. This village offers smart, affordable, safe, and simple homes in a respectful way,” said the jury. “The design and its many offshoots transform underutilized urban spaces into fresh new settings where communities can prosper.”
Chandler Tiny Homes Village For The Homeless
Architect: Lehrer Architects LA
Owner: City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering
Location: Los Angeles, California
Category: Specialized Housing
General Contractor: Ford E.C. Inc.
Civil – Engineer: Barbara L. Hall, PE. Inc.
MEP – Engineering: Alfa Tech
DESIGN TEAM: Architect: Lehrer Architects LA, Inc
Partner: Nerin Kadribegovic, AIA, IIDA, Partner-in Charge, and Michael B. Lehrer, FAIA
Project Manager: Erik Alden, AIA
Project Architect: Ashle Fauvre, AIA
Project Designer: Robert Mendez
Los Angeles Fire Department: Insp. Laurinda Meade, Travis Lew, Captain Chris Mittino
BOE Geotechnical: Jose Bernstein, Easton Forcier
BOE Architectural Division: Deborah Weintraub, AIA, Jose Fuentes, Marina Quinonez, Erik Villanueva
Photography: Lehrer Architects LA, except where noted
Etty Padmodipoetro, AIA, Chair, Urban Idea Lab, Boston
Kenneth Luker, AIA, Perkins Will, Durham, N.C.
Marica McKeel, AIA, Studio MM Architect, New York
Patricia Leigh Brown, New York Times, San Francisco