Summary List Placement
A once "forgotten" corner in North Hollywood, California, has been given a colorful makeover to house Los Angeles' homeless population using prefabricated tiny homes.
The process of creating a prefabricated home in a factory or warehouse naturally lends itself to be more economical, eco friendly, and speedier than building a traditional home. As a result, prefabricated units are increasingly seen as a potential solution to both the US' inaccessible housing market and the homelessness crisis caused by natural or personal disasters.
To the latter point, several companies are now building prefabricated tiny homes to house the unhoused, including Washington-based Pallet, which creates housing units that can be setup in 30 minutes.
Pallet's tiny homes are now being used throughout the country, including at Los Angeles' new 39-unit Chandler Boulevard Bridge Home Village, a community of tiny homes designed to alleviate Los Angeles' homelessness crisis. Keep scrolling to take a tour of the village, which was designed by Lehrer Architects and the city's Bureau of Engineering.
This colorful village is a first in Los Angeles, and provides the city's homeless citizens with "a sense of community and dignity," Gary Lee Moore, a city engineer and general manager of the Bureau of Engineering, said in a statement.
The village was built in 13 weeks and is now considered the "centerpiece" for temporary — or bridge — shelters.
Los Angeles officials, residents, and the public are now "embracing" this new village, Michael Lehrer and Nerin Kadribegovic, Lehrer Architects' founding partner and partner, respectively, told Insider in an email interview.
It's hard to imagine what else could have occupied this recently completed space, which sits on an angular teardrop-shaped infill lot.
The idea to fill the awkwardly shaped lot came when city officials began scouting for locations to build "bridge" homes.
There are obvious construction and design issues that may arise from working on such an oddly shaped lot.
But luckily, the prefab units are small and configurable, allowing them to occupy otherwise difficult spaces.
The beta project's shelters now "add real value" to the once vacant lot, according to Lehrer Architects.
The village's 39 prefabricated Pallet shelters can accommodate up to two people.
Pallet began building these shelters for people without homes to create a "dignified" housing option outside of community shelters, Amy King, founder and CEO of Pallet, told Insider in January.
To create this sense of dignity, the shelters have similar amenities to any home, such as beds, shelves that can be used as desks, and a designated phone charging area.
The units are also lockable and have air conditioning and heaters for extra safety and comfort.
"Achieving this level of privacy and security is not possible in a traditional shelter," Kadribegovic and Lehrer told Insider. "The evocation of a child's drawing of a 'house' and even Monopoly's homes reinforces the idea of 'home.'"
Besides these tiny homes, the village also has amenities that address general necessities, including restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, common spaces, and areas for pets.
Obviously, the most eye catching part of the village is its colorful paint job.
This color pop was intentional: it's an inexpensive design idea that unifies the village while providing the "uplifting effect of a 3D painting," according to the architecture firm.
However, the bursts of color don't consume the entire village.
Most of the shelters are white, and color was strategically added to make the village feel more like a community, according to Kadribegovic and Lehrer.
In total, Lehrer Architects had a $3.49 million budget for the project, but the colorful collective of homes wasn't the most expensive component of the new village.
Source: Lehrer Architects
Foundational work, such as sewer line extensions and street leveling, became the project's biggest cash guzzlers.
Moving forward, prefab shelters may become the key to creating more communities like this in the near future.
According to Lehrer and Kadribegovic, a prefab unit's speedy setup time is key, especially amid the booming homelessness crisis.
As a result, Lehrer Architects is now building another 103-unit village nearby, and is planning a third in a different part of Los Angeles.
"Respect and dignity in design can go a long way in helping folks find their footing and start in a new chapter in their lives and the lives of every citizen in the city." Kadribegovic and Lehrer wrote.