Innovation Designs L.A.’s Supportive Housing

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  1. As an architect heavily-involved in Supportive Housing in NJ, I have seen this article, and buildings like it, and wonder if our priorities are indeed in the right place? Don’t get me wrong: I love cool buildings. And I don’t believe that those with lesser incomes or special life challenges should be treated ‘less’…but think about what this emphasizes: the cool building. Yes, it has a special ‘buzz’ because it is for the homeless, but the celebration is all about the building… and that troubles me.

    This was one of several “Affordable Housing” examples recently showcased at the national AIA Convention in Washington DC (all examples from the West Coast, and nothing under $300/sf in cost!). I challenged those in attendance to think more critically about celebrating the concepts of ‘stewardship’ and that of making a difference for as many people as possible instead of celebrating a too-expensive, Gehry-esque building that happens to house the homeless instead of a concert venue at Disney. As you can imagine, I am not all that popular in architectural ‘design circles’….but that’s OK.

    What’s not OK is for us to get sucked into celebrating the mindset and misplaced priorities that lead to projects such as this, especially in an era where the need is so great and the resources are so scarce. It may be newer and prettier, but it is the same thinking that gave us most of those public housing superblocks of the 50s & 60s…

    Something to think about as you look at the slide show…

  2. Steve, we fully agree with your comment. We attempt to publish articles that will encourage our readers to think about how we create permanent, affordable and supportive housing.

    Obviously, we should have talked to you prior to posting this article.

    Perhaps we can work together on supportive housing models in NJ?