When people are displaced, new communities are typically forged based around the action that displaced them. The common bond for those living on Skid Row is the experience of living on the street, which, because of its environment, has shaped a different kind of social order. In recognizing this variation, we know that redefining the traditional points of social activity could, and would, be necessary.
The new Hart Hotel, a hybrid of mixed income and supportive housing, brings together two unconventional but converging populations around the practice of art. Two major public spaces in the building are given over to the creation and display of art as points of interaction for all residents. We also focused on the potential for the corridors, specifically the relationship between the unit and the hallway and the intersection of the personal and the public. The hallways are ten feet wide and have accordion doors that can further open up the hallway. This emulates the social conditions of the street familiar to many of the residents of Skid Row prior to living in supportive housing. The design also allows for light and air penetration deep within the building. This same interior interaction is carried through to the wood lathe façade that can open and close based on the individual’s preference. The residents are presented with an empowering sense of ownership that extends throughout the building.
This project was part of a larger studio project focused on Skid Row in Los Angeles, that was a collaboration between Parsons The New School for Design, its sister school, Milano, and the Skid Row Community Trust. For more information, visit http://seekingshelter.wordpress.com/