2012 Annual Design Review
Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects
Thanks to this repurposing of a former hotel storage space into its new offices, Skid Row Housing Trust is now better equipped to develop, manage, and operate housing for the homeless of Los Angeles. In addition to its emphasis on housing, the organization also provides support services to help its residents move beyond poverty, illness, and addiction. Its goal: to create change by coupling permanent housing with the assistance needed to break the cycle of homelessness.
This 4,100-square-foot tenant improvement houses the nonprofit’s new management offices, including a library, conference rooms, and a flexible training and event space. A ground-floor storage area, peppered with heavy steel columns, provided the raw space. Lorcan O’Herlihy embraced the columns as a creative opportunity, devising a series of “trees” that conceal the structure while providing the framework for a custom lighting installation. Made from off-the-shelf components, the lights consist of white aluminum tubes that brighten and enliven the multipurpose space—an informal area where staff and community members interact. The architects also uncovered existing clerestory windows in the building, tapping into an additional natural light source. Custom glass partitions dividing the private offices and conference rooms allow the newfound daylight to penetrate deep into the space, while providing the desired level of privacy inside the offices.
“You’re using the ready-made performance of architecture to really create a scene in that space—an incredibly memorable scenographic experience.” —Elizabeth Ranieri
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