LOHA’s LEED Gold design for MLK1101 Supportive Housing creates an environment that encourages health and community, acknowledging that successful social spaces come through a variety of planned and organic strategies. LOHA implements several design strategies that open the building towards the street and foster a sense of community within the neighborhood. LOHA capitalizes on a requirement for on-site parking to create an elevated community garden and social hub for residents and neighbors.
LOHA’s design further integrates the building into the community by establishing a street presence through a storefront space and a widened staircase that connects the street to the community spaces one level up. This stoop is a gathering space and a public gesture, encouraging the types of resident and neighborhood interaction often missing in supporting housing.
All the units for MLK1101 Supportive Housing are accessed through exterior walkways. While the unit layouts are efficiently identical on each floor, the walkways vary in width for a more dynamic, staggered elevation and to create informal gathering spaces and opportunities for residents to socialize.
Further advancing previous experience working with Clifford Beers Housing and other supportive housing organizations like the Skid Row Housing Trust, LOHA’s design acknowledges the successful track record these housing complexes have had with bringing supportive services in-house.
LOHA imagines an L-shaped typology that allows every apartment to receive sunlight and cross ventilation, reducing the need for heating, cooling, and artificial light, and allowing for the inclusion of an elevated green patio for residents to relax and socialize away from the noise of the street. MLK1101 Supportive Housing employs the latest strategies in environmentally responsible, forward-thinking green design to maximize space and benefit the entire community. The building was certified LEED gold and features include high-efficiency heating and cooling, appliances and fixtures, solar water heating, electric vehicle charging and bike parking. The architecture intentionally encourages health and social connection instead of isolation.
Norma R., one of the new residents calling MLK1101 Supportive Housing, became homeless after losing her eyesight. “Now that I am in this comfortable and safe environment,” said Norma, “I will be able to get my health and education back and do what I really dream of, which is going back to work.”
Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects [LOHA] engages the ever-changing complexities of the urban landscape, embracing architecture’s role as a catalyst for change. Projects by LOHA consider how the site, form, and material decisions can radiate beyond a structure’s boundaries to shape the urban environment, provide essential housing, and enrich society with spaces that support and facilitate culture and community. LOHA has developed a distinct approach as a guiding philosophy for the firm: Amplified Urbanism. As a methodology, Amplified Urbanism reimagines the creative interaction between public and private spaces, emphasizes social and civic connections, and works within existing ecological and infrastructural patterns to cultivate vibrant communities. Amplified Urbanism is developed around three main design tenants—Activated Edges, Strategic Voids, and Bold Materiality—that are founded on the belief that architecture should be a transformative action.