Lehrer Architects completes a permanent supportive residential complex

Lehrer Architects, an award-winning Los Angeles practice that has gained traction recently for tiny Monopoly-esque cottage transitional housing villages that grew up in multiples across the San Fernando Valley, have completed a new project with a similar playful approach that brings bold colors, geometric patterns, and a sense of belonging to the site. Filling is omitted and awkward shape, otherwise it will remain unused.

While the aforementioned uninhabited Angelenos home villages are largely (but not exclusively) located in North Hollywood, the newest candy-colored housing development, the Willowbrook Apartments, can be found in the South L.A. community of the same name. (Willowbrook is located south of Watts and northwest of Compton, and is technically an unincorporated neighborhood in Los Angeles County.) An effort by Los Angeles County and nonprofit developer Restore Neighborhoods Los Angeles (RNLA), the Willowbrook apartments also differ in those seven-unit complex no It acts as a temporary springboard towards permanent housing. He. She he is Permanent housing, intended for veterans with a disability who has not been previously housed. The site is located near the community church and close to public transportation.

A vibrant green path connects each of the units at Willowbrook Apartments. (Courtesy of Lehrer Architects)
People sitting outside condominiums on common spaces painted yellow
Like other housing efforts led by Lehrer Architects, outdoor common space is a major consideration. (Lehrer Architects)

While Lehrer Architects describe Willowbrook’s seven units as “miniature” in size, the 300-square-foot living spaces, which are mirrored and laid out cascading to maximize available space on the compact development site, are significantly larger than those found in the tiny home communities the company manages in partnership. With the Los Angeles City Office of Engineering. (Those, which are also intended as temporary housing solutions, are only 64 square feet.) In the Willowbrook Apartments, each studio residence includes a private bathroom, kitchenette, and world class design features. “Although the units are compact in size, they are designed to have the longest possible interior view as well as the longest possible table space, and an overall generous amount of natural light and exterior view,” the company explained. “Incorporating entryway cabinet, pantry, refrigerator, oven, and sink alongside a large nightstand, provides an appropriate sense of luxury and expansiveness for the unit and the occupants.”

The housing design has relied on input from residents of similar housing projects, and is intended to be prototypes that can be replicated in future county-managed affordable housing projects on available plots.

An outdoor common space anchors the complex, with every two units (except one) sharing an entry courtyard that encloses a larger access plaza. Inside a slightly taller building on the site, the company explained, there is a community meeting room and offices that cluster together to form a “cohesive urban campus.”

Residential units with a common courtyard painted yellow
Communal courtyards enhance the sense of community among the residents. (Courtesy of Lehrer Architects)
Inside a small housing unit painted in light yellow
While on the slim side, the 300-square-foot units feature private bathrooms, kitchenettes, high ceilings, and an abundance of natural light. (Courtesy of Lehrer Architects)

“As a low-cost development, it took a while to get the contractor on board to realize that design really matters for projects like this. But step up! for these communities to materialize, a level of beauty, intent and design awareness not often seen in these types of projects Each participant must go beyond their level of professional and, oftentimes, financial comfort.Michael Lehrer, founder and president of Lehrer Architects, explained that bureaucratic challenges remain severe, if not fatal, especially resulting in licensing and construction.

He added: “I hope that this project captures the imagination of culture, and shows how such housing can effectively enhance its neighbourhood, regardless of where the residents previously lived. This is critical to de-stigmatizing these types of housing projects, to destigmatize the people who live there, and to show the true beauty of whole neighborhoods that take care of all residents.”

People gather in a communal sunny garden
Willowbrook apartments design designed to be replicated in other areas of South Los Angeles (Courtesy Lehrer Architects)
Small living unit with high ceilings
(Courtesy of Lehrer Architects)

The Willowbrook Apartments grew out of a six-year partnership—now officially known as RETHINKHOUSING LA—between Lehrer Architects, RNLA and Genesis Community Bank to bring affordable start-up homes to South Los Angeles communities. According to Lehrer Architects, the group currently owns several sites that are either built or ready for permitting.

“The Willowbrook Apartments, a small but grand development, are a critical step in our collaborative effort to house our non-residing neighbors in Los Angeles County,” said Emilio Salas, Executive Director of the Los Angeles State Development Authority (LACDA). “LACDA is proud to be a part of the development that will provide positive supportive services to its new residents.”

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