Replay: Homeless Housing (Part 2)

November 15, 2010 at 8:27 pm Leave a comment

On Friday, I attended “Homeless Housing: LA and NY” at New York’s Center for Architecture. Co-organized by the Museum of Modern Art because of the current ‘Small Scale, Big Change’ exhibit, the panel presented “innovative and provocative homeless housing solutions from New York and Los Angeles.” Here are the major highlights from final presenter Michael Maltzan, representing LA:

Michael Maltzan, FAIA is the principal of Los Angeles-based Michael Maltzan Architecture and was definitely the most architect-y of the group. He frequently stressed the importance of aesthetically iconic buildings (and of form in general), but his projects still manage to be resourceful and functional. For example, the Skid Row Housing Trust’s supportive New Carver Apartments make up one of the most recognizable affordable housing projects today, and the Iwan Baan photography only catapults it that much more into icon status. What surprised me most was that the inside’s dramatic galvanized metal columns (“fins”) actually act as duct work and water ways in addition to providing “dynamic blinders” so that residents don’t feel so on display when in the building’s halls.

November 15’s daily design idea is while projects like the New Carver Apartments can be considered a fairly radical design move in the world of affordable housing, Maltzan prefers to call them “progressive.” He elaborated by saying that calling a project radical isolates it from the rest of architecture, and these buildings should be treated as equal contenders as they are integrated into larger architectural thought. I completely agree (though I still think Maltzan has some pretty wonderfully radical work).

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Replay: Homeless Housing (Part 1) I impulse purchased my way into a 28,000 person art project.

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