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Sometimes it takes careful planning to produce organic interactions. That’s a lesson architect Lorcan O’Herlihy took to heart while developing affordable housing for previously homeless individuals in Los Angeles. Thanks to the building’s L-shaped design, each of its 26 units receives abundant space, ample natural light and comfortable cross ventilation. But it’s the strategies adopted to develop a deeper sense of community that are among the project’s most thoughtful. To promote neighbourly interactions between those coming and going, all units are accessed via staggered exterior walkways. When it comes time for a proper get-together, a social room with a shared kitchen and dining area accommodates regular potlucks, with dishes drawing on ingredients grown in the second-storey plaza garden. And while most of the ground floor is devoted to parking, cars stay tucked behind two street-front retail spaces that provide residents with valuable workforce training. All in all, it’s a housing complex designed to be a place not just to live but to prosper.

Project MLK1101 Supportive Housing Location Los Angeles, U.S. Firm Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, U.S. Photos Paul Vu

MLK1101 Supportive Housing

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2017
Award of MeritSingle-Family Houses
Award of MeritSocial Good
Location
Beijing, China
Firm
People’s Architecture Office, China
2020
Winner + People’s ChoiceSocial Good
2018
Winner + People’s ChoiceSocial Good
Location
Toronto, Canada
Firm
Hariri Pontarini Architects, Toronto, Canada