Designer: Brianna Bullentini
Location: St. Marks / Crescent Hotel, Hart Hotel, Produce Hotel, Los Angles, California
Type: Adaptive Reuse
Number of Units: N/A
Major: Interior Design
I was fortunate enough to design a new lifestyle platform that breaks the chronic cycle of homelessness. Designing for an impact, a community at large; shaping the future of an environment through efficient design. Using the city Los Angeles as the plan and the streets as the circulation system, this urban intervention solves problems within and outside the walls of Skid Row, the largest population of homeless. A home isn’t necessarily four walls and a bed. It’s a lifestyle. It’s comfort. It’s dependency. It’s a state of being. Everyone’s home is special and unique to them. One may be Houseless but one can never be Homeless.
All of us need the basic necessities of life such as shelter, food, and social engagement. For the homeless, issues such as identification, transportation, healthy food, learned skill, hygiene, fitness, community, entertainment, positive purpose, and storage security are also part of what makes a place feel like home. From conception to completion I made sure all these components were answered in the most economical and effective way. This project retrofits the first floor of the Crescent/ St. Marks Hotel into a space that accommodates everybody whether you currently live on the streets or live in assisted living accommodations. Programs such as; the identification offices, bike sharing garage, entertainment game room with karaoke stage, and individual mail boxes can all be found here. Outdoor space is also introduced with space for eating and movie projection. The Hart Hotel’s remodeling encompasses the first and second floor, creating a mezzanine space. This is the neighborhood’s energy powered bike gym equipped with bikes, locker rooms, and a laundry space adjoined to the back ally. Upstairs is a cantilevering mezzanine where the community library is located as well as access to the half-‐wrap around deck.
The last location’s new design doesn’t involve any changes to the existing. Rather, a re-‐designed free-‐form up-‐cycled shipping crate has been transformed into a pop-‐up kitchen. This will be used on the weekends at the Produce Hotel’s parking lot. Community formed Farmer’s Markets, clothes swap, and BBQ’s will occupy the site. A permanent garden is located at the end of the bordering street. This system would function like a co-‐op, where everyone shares the responsibility and will gain skills of trade. Design is about building solutions that better suit the needs of the inhabitants at hand. With Skid Row being the project at hand, I tried providing opportunities to improve their quality of life on numerous levels. The cohesive concept throughout the entire project was; “a second chance.” Whether it’s up-‐cycling the existing buildings, re-‐cycling objects for materials, or providing the residents with a chance at a second life. This urban model pushes the possibilities of how a community runs,and hopefully builds a foundation of a better future for each person who is fortunate enough to call Skid Row “home.