Design Resources for Homelessness is a collective of guidelines and recommendations for “architects, interior designers, organizations renovating or constructing new environments, researchers, teachers and students.” This is a very pertinent and interesting website that builds upon MarginL’s mission which is ultimately to provide a similar prescriptive resource for addressing the landscapes of homelessness. Design Resources for Homelessness offers an extensive database for designers so there is detailed information and analysis for all designers but it also reveals the gap in landscape architecture’s role in addressing homelessness with our set of skills, a gap we are seeking to fill. This aside, the website includes design guidelines for addressing homelessness and recovery, a resource of notable projects and people, in-depth case study analysis, and more, all contributing layers of pertinent information for future designs attempting to address homelessness. The projects and people section has some of the same projects we have highlighted in previous posts for landscape precedent studies such as Skid Row Housing Trust. This is an exciting forum that furthers the dialogue of how design can tackle social issues such homelessness and make an impact beyond the physical realm.
Peter Barber Architects created a 51 room homeless shelter in London, basing their design off of 10th century poorhouses, reimagining the standard homeless services in an artful way. The individual housing units, counseling areas, and educational facilities are all organized around a garden in the center of the small complex. The garden is serve as a place where residents can grow food, planting fruit trees and vegetables, as well as providing a welcoming space in which to receive supportive services. This provides yet another example of a design focused on improving the lives of those experiencing homeless by addressing not only shelter but also landscape.
After winning the AIA/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing Design in 2016, the 91 room apartment building designed by David Baker Architects proves to be an excellent addition to the new face of housing first initiatives in California. The Oakland apartment building houses low income residents, many pushed out by rising rent prices, as well as formerly homeless seniors. The compelling modern design is enhanced by a thoughtful and developed landscape plan that involves multiple courtyards and a large garden plot on the second floor of the building that is maintained by residents. The multiple sunny courtyards are used strategically to create a natural, communal environment.