No. 45 . 11 April 2001 
ArchitectureWeek
ArchWeek Photo ArchWeek Photo

Downtown Drop-In Center

by Alice Kimm, AIA

Several blocks along San Julian Street in downtown Los Angeles are home to many of the city's homeless. One would expect a sense of hopelessness to pervade that stretch of road, but instead it is vibrant and lively.

This is due to the presence of the Downtown Drop-In Center, a facility designed by Michael Lehrer, AIA of Lehrer Architects and operated by Volunteers of America, an offshoot of the Salvation Army.

The project, which was given an AIA National Honor Award earlier this year, is inspiring for many reasons. That it exists at all is testimony to the dedication of the developer, SRO Housing Corporation.

Design on a Shoestring

The building was built on a very tight budget less than $70 per square foot ($750 per square meter) but contains architectural elements usually reserved for private, more expensive buildings.

In addition, the building takes risks: despite the neighborhood's reputation for being dangerous and a home to drug dealers, the facility is open to the street. There is no visible security save one small camera monitor pointed unobtrusively at the entrance to the project.

There is a sense that the building trusts its users and welcomes them. In return, the homeless who wander in and out of the facility do not abuse it. There is mutual respect between the architecture and those who inhabit it.  

Continue...

DEPARTMENTS 
       NEWS
       DESIGN
       BUILDING
       DESIGN TOOLS
       BUILDING CULTURE

 
IN THIS ISSUE
  Contents
 
  •  
  • Architecture Earth Day
     
  •  
  • New Architects
     
  •  
  • Downtown Drop-In Center
     
  •  
  • Practicing Information Technology
     
  •  
  • Living in the City

     
    AND MORE
      Current Contents
      Blog Center
      Download Center
      New Products
      Products Guide
      Classic Home
      Architecture Forum
      Architects Directory
      Topics Library
      Complete Archive
      Web Directory
      About ArchWeek
      Search
      Subscribe & Contribute
      Free Newsletters
       

     
    QUIZ
     
    NEXT WEEK
    Send this to a friend       Subscribe       Contribute       Advertise       Privacy       Comments Next Page >
    GREAT BUILDINGS   |   DISCUSSION   |   SCRAPBOOK   |   COMMUNITY   |   BOOKS   |   FREE 3D   |   ARTIFICE   |   SEARCH
    http://www.ArchitectureWeek.com/2001/0411/index.html
    © 2001 Artifice, Inc. - All Rights Reserved