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"Supportive Housing" Design

Bryan Finoki

Anyone have experience designing “supportive housing”, live-in clinics, co-operative housing, rehabbed SRO's, shelters, urban mobiles, or other similar projects for the homeless?

I am researching a wide array of homeless architecture, from ad hoc street structures to contemporary “supportive housing” projects designed by architects, and trying to understand the unique spatial needs designer's must be aware of when designing compassionately for the homeless. Specifically, how the design can answer the variety of special needs a diverse homeless population may have given a new transitional or permanent housing model off of the streets. Needs, like private kitchens vs. communal kitchens, outdoor smoking areas in addition to common interior lounges, extra storage facilities and animal kennels, a hierarchy of supervised spaces vs. less supervised where groups may be readying for greater independence. How separate or integral must these places be with the rest of the community? How to design for a range of age groups and social needs?

Any examples or thoughts re: architecture for the homeless would greatly help me.

Thanks.

 
Jul 2, 04 2:43 am
SurfaceS

Hey bfunk,

I didn't design anything for this one, but I helped unwrap & sort the posterboards and enter everyone's names into the computer! There is a lot of information on this site (in the "reference" and "program" sections, courtesy of the seriously awe inspiring Tate) . If you look at the specs for this competition, i think you will find a lot of leads. That is, if you haven't done so already.

http://www.firststephousing.org/

Jul 2, 04 5:41 am  · 
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futureboy

Sciarc did a project for SKid Row housing in downtown LA right after I left. you can check it out here:
http://www.rocioromero.com/service_spot.htm
also, as susan stated, common ground's efforts in new york are incredibly interesting. depending on where you're located, i'm sure there are some incredible community groups active in these realms that you can talk with. typically these would be the best sources for the specific information you are looking for.

Jul 2, 04 10:54 am  · 
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aml

as a sidenote: you might be interested in rosalyn deutsche's evictions: art and spatial politics book, which mentions krystof wodiczko's homeless projection. i know it's not what you asked for but i thought i might mention it just in case.

Jul 2, 04 11:07 am  · 
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you also might want to read and look at some projects by Gordon Matta-Clark. He was very interested in people creating their own shelters.

more later

Jul 2, 04 11:49 am  · 
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Bryan Finoki

As I have been researching this stuff for awhile now, i am familiar with these suggestions but I thank you.

Firststep is evolutionary and I am trying to replicate that project here in SF around a new vacant property inventory initiative here. Though what is the current state of Firststep, aren't they planning an installation soon in NYC? 'Evictions' is great book though I have not finished it yet. And Wodiczko & G Motta Clark are heroes of mine and major inspirations for my interest in Arch, even though I am not an architect or professional designer myself. I heard about the Sci-Arc skidrow project but have not yet had a chance to visit it down there. Helmut Jahn designed a shelter in Chicago not long ago that seemed pretty interesting. There are some new book projects on the horizon too I know will address this subject directly.

These are the types of suggestions I am looking for so thanks everyone for offering, and please do keep them coming.

Jul 2, 04 1:26 pm  · 
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Helsinki

The Princeton Arch. Press book : Architecture of the Everyday has some interesting sections about shelters by the poor (at least an article about turkish small houses erected during one night (!) giving the legibility according to Turkish law (!!)). Also other relevant stuff in the same book. I recommend.

Jul 3, 04 4:06 am  · 
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Bryan Finoki

Thanks for the tip Helsinki, I will check it out.

also, don't know if anyone saw this on a-matter but kind of interesting project dealing with drug addicts in Utrecht, using ivy walls to smooth their transition between the outer world and closed room occupancy.

http://www.a-matter.com/eng/projects/pr085/Maliehof-pr085-01-t.asp

Jul 7, 04 1:26 am  · 
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hey bfunk -

did you see on pimp'in architecture version archinect the freedom shelters of old shipping containers - you might want to check with Paul to see if he still has those images.

also the piece on slums by Mike Davis in the New Left Review might give you some interesting forms etc from around the globe.

http://archinect.com/news/article.php?id=2805_0_24_135_M

Jul 7, 04 1:34 am  · 
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gasp

Margaret Morton's photography of homeless shelters in NYC is really good. I believe the book is called "Fragile Dwellings".

Jul 7, 04 2:51 am  · 
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Bryan Finoki

yo John

That Davis article was awesome and I certainly can't wait for his full book. Guy always blows me away. I will ask paul to see if images of freedom shelters are still available, some how I think I missed those last time around. Thanks, man. Bye the way, I have been appreciating your posts a lot.

Gasp, I dont think I saw that book, but would be very interested in seeing it. In fact, I would be very excited to make a new version of the same here in SF as I embark on this further, if I may be so ambitous.

David Baker has done some amazing low income section 8 housing proejcts here in SF. http://www.dbarchitect.com

Jul 7, 04 3:04 am  · 
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thanks Paul. and thank you bfunk for the kind words.

In addition, a few years back a student architect/designer created a vaccum tent structure which attached to relief openings on buildings creating a nomadic homeless shelter. I don't know where on the net I scoped that project. I'll try to surf around and find it again.

oh you also might check shigeru ban's cardboard shetlers for the kyoto earthquale and bosnian refugee housing. There was a competition for the bosnian thing back in the late 90s etc.

Oh and Dan Peterman exhibtion at MCA is sorta of interesting - I posted a news bit on that.

Jul 7, 04 12:58 pm  · 
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Bryan Finoki

thanks Paul.

John,

PARASite: http://www.possibleutopia.com/mike/parasite.html

Ban has done some cool stuff, and I am on to AFH and their competitions, actually helping them here in SF.

I will go back for the Dan Peterman though.

Jul 7, 04 1:42 pm  · 
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oh yeah it was PARASite. Cool I really liked that idea - in some ways. It makes me think of Archigrams work. Pneumatic housing and portable lifestyles etc. Those might be good things to check out too and re-engineered into something more civic and supportive. Recontextualizing capitalistic utopias into homeless shelters - i love it

Jul 7, 04 1:55 pm  · 
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Bryan Finoki

Along those lines there is Studio-Orta | http://studioorta.free.fr/lucy_orta.html

But here is a large scale shelter project in Austin I would like to check the next time I get out there, has anyone managed to visit this? Again, a lot of attention paid to eleminating the barriers between the exterior and interior world inside this "shelter city."

http://www.bdcmag.com/news.asp?topicId=100001180&docId=l:207436040

Jul 7, 04 5:08 pm  · 
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abracadabra

10 x 10 palace for the homeless.
http://www.habitatforthehomeless.org/Montcalm%20house.htm

Aug 7, 04 1:39 am  · 
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MADianito

HOMELESS housing or as they call it: "emergency architecture" by Tijuana-based designlab torolab (Raul Cardenas): www.torolab.com

he has amazing analysis on what u should look for when adressing such topics as houses for ppl without resources/money/culture, etc.

Aug 7, 04 1:09 pm  · 
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Cameron

Brian,

If you compile a list it might be great to get a copy for the Rethinkinh Tent City competition we are doing next year. (and possibly the book - we using the 1906 SF earthquake as a starting point)

Also if you come out to cincinnatti in Sept. there are folks coming from Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Boston and Phili who are involved in low income housing projects.

Cheers
C

ps. I still need to write you about your project.

Aug 7, 04 2:12 pm  · 
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Bryan Finoki

abracadab

I know Jim Reid, his little house 'shelterone' has been his pasion-head up against our city hall wall for years now, but I think our new homeless 10 year plan working group is exploring its possible implementaiton around town. It's pretty impressive actually, for how small it is, and it is based on the post-earthquake disater relief housing model (that cam mentions) that was shelled out in SF by the 1000's. Its not really any solution though for chronically homeless, but could make a simple transitional stepping stone for those not far away from getting lives back on track and just need a temporary shell.

Cam, we will talk more, I am figuring on Cincinn now, and try to get you a list of some projects I have stumbled across for the book.

there was this article yesterday on the afformentioned Austin Shelter.

Aug 10, 04 9:48 pm  · 
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abracadabra

Bryan,
every step helps for this problem. keep the good work.
transitional period is really the most critical for the homeless.

Aug 10, 04 11:03 pm  · 
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Bryan Finoki

Here is an article today on the SF earthquake shacks Cam has referred to, they are in need of preservation.

Aug 11, 04 1:16 pm  · 
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Cameron

I'm going to be homeless in 5 weeks, perhaps AFH can turn one into it's HQ????

Aug 11, 04 1:18 pm  · 
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Cameron
photos
Aug 11, 04 1:20 pm  · 
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Bryan Finoki

When you come to SF next, I can show you where ShelterOne is camped right now and we can go check it out, and you can meet Jim if you want. He would be a good person to talk to about the book and the history of these refugee shacks. Jim was evicted recently b/c his landlord would not allow the little house as a separate structure on his property. So it was relocated to a safe parking lot.

Aug 11, 04 1:47 pm  · 
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leslie_ball

You should check in with the Corporation for Supportive Housing. Depending on where you are located (did you say San Francisco?) we could provide a number of resources relative to design - we have offices in a number of cities across the county and could help coordinate site visits with community based groups and architects familiar with this work. First check out our website www.csh.org That will give you a bit more guidance as to what office to contact relative to your location. Be sure to check out our Publications page...I think we have one or two resources that speak specifically to design issues in creating housing for people who have been homeless.

Aug 11, 04 4:24 pm  · 
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Bryan Finoki

Thanks leslie_ball,

I am familiar with CSH, and am trying to get some help from them in providing some materials (media panels, videos, etc) thta they suggest as primary examples of 'best supportive housing practices' in the nation. I am trying to organize a symposium event on the topic, and am looking for display materials that I can use to show off exemplary projects. Do you work for CSH? might you be able to help me borrow/acquire these types of display materials? Can you suggest any 'Top Supportive Housing Projects' for me to investigate further?

Aug 11, 04 4:43 pm  · 
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leslie_ball

Yes I do work for CSH in the Los Angeles office. Send an email to info@csh.org with your questions. This CSH Resource Center fields questions from all over the country regarding supportive housing. They would be the best bet in helping gather what you are looking for, although I dont think we have an media or videos focused specificially on design issues. They will be able to point you in the right direction though...

Aug 11, 04 5:09 pm  · 
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Bryan Finoki

Cool.

I will let you know what comes of that. Thanks for the info.

Can you tell me some successful projects in LA that would be worth looking into? Also, if you care to, from your POV, what are the biggest concerns facing supportive housing right now from a design perspective?

Just very curious and into this topic, and searching cities for what they are doing right/wrong...best/worst, etc.

Aug 11, 04 5:26 pm  · 
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leslie_ball

Call the CSH Los Angeles office at 213.623.4342.

Aug 12, 04 2:10 pm  · 
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abracadabra

off the subject. daughter of ted hayes, joanna hayes, won a gold medal in 100 meter hurdles in athens. ted hayes is the founder of 'dome village', a homeless village alongside the harbor freeway in los angeles.

Aug 29, 04 11:08 am  · 
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wyoming81

I am quite ignorant about the majority of things going on in this world and the concept of housing for the homeless in one thing I do not quite understand. Before you jump all over me and tell me I am a complete idiot hear me out. I understand that providing housing for the homeless makes their situation in the short term better. What I don't quite understand is does in really lead to a long term improvment for the individual. Furthermore it seems to me that the majority of the solutions, such tent cities and conex boxes almost seem counter productive. Its almost as were continuing the problem that existed in the 60's with the projects of creating poor communities of isolation instead of integration. A tent city is nice, but it seems to me to act as a cage more than solution to the problem. Even more worrisome is the reality that the majority of the individuals that push for these solutions are not the homeless themselves, but individuals on the outside who want to do their part for the poor. These individuals build the city and then proceed to tell the homeless to pack in them, love the new accomodations and to tell everyone how much they like the accomodations. This is of course found by the kind individual reveling in them glory of being a great citizen. Finally to go back to my first concern how does this solve the problem in the long run. What incentive does it provide for the individual to improve their own situation and worse, how does it bring them back into society. In my mind to would seem like the ultimate slab in the face. "Not only am I poor, but not I must live in a box that was previouly used to transport computers with a bunch of other people in the same situation. Well at least we can all sit back and complain about the rich people in those apartment buildings who think they have helped us by giving us us metal boxes to live in, which probably cost more than a new house." I am only bringing this up because in Denver, Colorado attempts to build a tent city have been twarted because there was a negative reation by the homeless population.

Aug 30, 04 1:01 pm  · 
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Bryan Finoki

I don't think anyone views "tent cities" as permanent solutions to the homeless crisis. the case has been made for permanent housing with services built in to help people overcome all sorts of problems, to stabilize, to help make transition and re-entry actually possible, hence "supportive housing" as a model. how to implement that is really the question. studies have shown supportive housing to be financially much more viable than our current criminalization-shelter-emergency room roundabout. but in terms of tent city: in seattle homeless advocates have built several there, not to invoke a real solution by their example, but to exercise their right to independence, to find a way of helping themselves in the face of municipal gridlock and apathy. i am curious to see how the denver proposal shapes up, is it dead in the water? certainly i can understand homeless people themselves being against it, b/c it suggests they are settling for substandard solutions, a compromise now in this manner only hurts their chances later on of achieving real substantial housing progress. however, many proponents believe that first it allows them a certain recognition as people who can ably attempt at controlling their own lives and doing something to look after themselves withouth waiting for the government to help. it also says, if you dont do something for us in the way of more suitable permanent housing solutions, jobs, medical, whatever, we will be HERE as a permenent reminder and symbol of the holding pattern that homeless populations find themselves in around the country. its an attempt at gaining some serious attention in the face of stately apathy, or inadequacy. it also gets into land use issues, squatter rights, placement issues, land entitlements. where to put the homeless, on who's land, if the land is vacant, who then can gain control of it, how....all that juicy politics of land use stuff. tent city is an attempt to say, in the interim, we will find ways of building our own solutions with whatever meager means we have, and all along hope to force the gov to see us as a huge problem that cannot be swept away or disguised and dispersed. and not only that, we are a willfull resourceful society that needs to be recognized legitimately via our own ability to acquire land and look after each other. tent cities are less a real solution and more about the homeless people rising up in some organized fashion to make a loud statement. i dont think it is their compromise, just an attempt at salvaging their own situation with pride and a voice to say, we need better solutions.

oh yeah and congrats to j hayes ! really happy she won, would love to have been down there in dome village when she did as I am sure they went crazy.

Aug 30, 04 4:25 pm  · 
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Bryan Finoki

Not the sexiest architecture in the world, but at least drawing more attention to the problem/solution.

Chicago-based architect Helmut Jahn has designed a new SRO project for the homeless in Cabrini-Green, a longtime symbolic area of failed public housing but now undergoing redevelopment. imgs

Sep 11, 04 2:16 pm  · 
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