This Firm Is Building Villages of Tiny Homes in Response to the Housing Crisis in Los Angeles

Asia's Tech News Daily

This Firm Is Building Villages of Tiny Homes in Response to the Housing Crisis in Los Angeles
© Photo: Lehrer Architects An aerial view of the tiny homes village in Alexandria Park.

Nerin Kadribegovic came to America as a refugee in response to the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. “We were forced to leave our home and were housed abroad with other refugees in a hotel room while we searched for more permanent housing,” he recalls. “My mom, my brother, and I lived in a tiny room for over a year.” The U.S. was believed to be a place of safety and yet he explains that “years later, riding my bike through Skid Row [in Los Angeles], I couldn’t believe how American social networks had failed so miserably.”

What Nerin vividly describes is the mounting unhoused population: In California alone, the homeless population exceeds 160,000. This is combined with a lack of human-centric shelters that take into account people’s complicated, all-encompassing pasts, including the status of their mental health, systems involvement, exposure to violence, exclusion from opportunity based on race, drug use, dependents, and much more.

Nerin joined Michael Lehrer’s eponymously named architecture firm in 2002, following graduate school at the Southern California School of Architecture. At the time, Michael had been building his practice for 17 years in pursuit of (what were then labeled ‘radical’) projects infusing architecture with the concept of harm reduction, the ideology that we should accept marginalized communities where they are without judgment. For Lehrer Architects, this has meant building or converting spaces to provide unhoused individuals with privacy, integrity, and, perhaps most progressive in its execution, beauty. This core tenant of giving agency and respect to folks who have been deemed undeserving is why Bosnian-born Nerin teamed up with Michael when he did.

This Firm Is Building Villages of Tiny Homes in Response to the Housing Crisis in Los Angeles
© Photo: Lehrer Architects A corner of green and yellow houses at the Sunset & Alvarado location.

The pair has since spearheaded award-winning projects providing transitional and permanent housing for the unhoused, with their latest series leveraging the geographically flexible structure of tiny homes. Applying their philosophy of “no throwaway spaces,” the firm’s Tiny Home Villages cover everything from a forgotten L.A. infill to an abandoned lot in Echo Park. As of September, they opened a fourth location in North Hollywood with 77 units that can accommodate up to 150 people. 

Though these villages are technically designed and built in a three-month time frame, Nerin reveals that the process to get there is much longer. Lehrer Architects is one of many architectural entities that spend anywhere from a few months to over a year bidding to take on projects contracted by the city. Essentially, whoever can create an ideal, aesthetically pleasing solution with the lowest budget wins.

Nerin and Michael’s village bids stand out for two key reasons: their land malleability and their vibrant color. From the point of view of a drone, the village looks like a Monopoly board game, with the homes themselves brightly decorated in cobalt blue, canary yellow, magenta, and neon green. “Visual empathy is hyper important,” Michael explains of the impetus behind their colors (which he shares are inspired by Andy Warhol’s pop iconography and Joel Shaprio’s abstract sculptures). These partners have taken a structural social solution one step further by marrying it with a crucial design philosophy: that we as humans enjoy, deserve, and take solace in beautiful environments. 

This Firm Is Building Villages of Tiny Homes in Response to the Housing Crisis in Los Angeles
© Photo: Lehrer Architects A highway view of the village at Alexandria.

There’s no need to relegate those marginalized by capitalism to uncomfortable bunk beds and drab, transient army tents—particularly when, according to the Lehrer Architects’ team, adding color doesn’t necessarily affect a project’s budget. As Nerin puts it, it’s important to “present [unhoused] communities in such a way that they feel like they belong in an urban context.” Because of this, not only are Tiny Home Village residents genuinely excited by their surroundings (Nerin shared that a 63-year-old tenant stated he felt like he was living in a gated community, a.k.a. the ultimate form of luxury), their neighbors are more keen to welcome them, something that is often a determinant factor when it comes to carving out space for shelters.

Nerin argues that shelters, as they currently stand, don’t “bring the sort of resolution and beauty that elevate the spirit.” They also take up a lot of physical space, with large footprints that are only appropriate for certain real estate. In big cities, where homelessness often runs rampant, this sort of affordable surface area is harder to find. “We design little pixels that can fit into various wacky shapes of land—found in crevices and places previously overlooked,” Michael says. For this reason, city officials and designers have more flexibility and can meet the unhoused physically where they are across L.A. Moreover, rather than being separated by gender in shelters, families can stay together in these villages.

This Firm Is Building Villages of Tiny Homes in Response to the Housing Crisis in Los Angeles
© Photo: Lehrer Architects A row of tiny houses with green doors at the Saticoy village.

There’s also a component of privacy—something often negated in homeless shelters and nonexistent on the streets—that Michael and Nerin prioritize in their village design. According to Michael, residents actually spend most of their time physically inside their tiny homes, reveling in the access to heating, air-conditioning, and the ability to lock their doors. “For some, this is the first time in however long that they’ve been able to actually control their environment,” he adds.

In a neighborhood consciously erected to destigmatize the status of being unhoused, these villages are also equipped with case managers to support in résumé building, paperwork navigation, permanent housing pursuits, and otherwise. The goal is that, after 90 days, residents will be in a position to move to permanent housing, but can also apply for an extension if needed. For Michael, “every aspect of being human is being touched” when it comes to responding to the housing crisis in the U.S.

This Firm Is Building Villages of Tiny Homes in Response to the Housing Crisis in Los Angeles
© Photo: Lehrer Architects A highway view of the Saticoy village.

This is why social impact design of this gravity has to take on problem-solving at every level, from city permissions to individual resident needs. Michael and Nerin do not take this responsibility lightly. “For most people, it’s easy to dismiss homelessness as something that could never happen to them,” Nerin says. “But so many don’t realize that they are a doctor’s visit or a paycheck away from living on the street.”

Lehrer Architects emphasizes unhoused individuals as, above all else, deserving: of shelter, of autonomy, of integrity, and of beauty. And for Michael and Nerin, that’s all part of being an architect in the first place. Michael opened the interview paraphrasing Frank Gehry: “Being an architect is a social act.”

This Firm Is Building Villages of Tiny Homes in Response to the Housing Crisis in Los Angeles
© Photo: Lehrer Architects A colorful corner of tiny houses at the Alexandria village.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Indian Health Ministry confirms first cases of omicron coronavirus variant in 2 people from southern Karnataka state

NEW DELHI — Indian Health Ministry confirms first cases of omicron coronavirus variant in 2 people from southern Karnataka state. Read more »

I'm a flight attendant and these are the weirdest places I've found poo on a plane

FLIGHT attendants have revealed the weirdest places they've found poo on a plane. You might want to wait until after you've had your breakfast to keep reading. Flight attendants have ... Read more »

London Resort dubbed ‘UK Disneyland' WILL go ahead next year, theme park boss confirms

THE boss of the new theme park being dubbed “UK's Disneyland” has said works WILL go ahead next year – despite delays and local opposition. The £2.5bn project was first ... Read more »

Househunters slam ‘most depressing ever' one-bed flat and compare it to a PRISON CELL after landlord wanted £300 a month

HOUSEHUNTERS have slammed a one-bed flat as the “most depressing ever” as it looks just like a prison cell. The landlord then sparked further fury by asking £300 a month ... Read more »

Furious M&S shopper demands Christmas cards are removed over ‘deeply offensive' message – but not everyone agrees

FURIOUS M&S shoppers have demanded “deeply offensive” charity Christmas cards are removed from shelves – but not everyone agrees. Christian customers say the 'Merry Pigmas' cards, which show Percy Pig ... Read more »

BBC star Amol Rajan forced into humiliating apology for ‘rude and immature' comments on Prince Philip, Kate and William

A BBC journalist was today forced to apologise for making “rude” and “immature” comments about Prince Philip, Kate Middleton and Prince William. Amol Rajan, who presented the controversial beeb documentary ... Read more »

Kay Burley slaps down minister's claim Brits under 40 can call GP to get booster jab, scolding: ‘That's not true!'

KAY Burley today slapped down a minister's claims that under-40s should call their GPs to get a booster jab in a furious on air row. The Sky News host repeatedly ... Read more »

Ghislaine Maxwell's life of luxury as Epstein's ‘madam' revealed in unseen pictures shown to sex-trafficking trial

GHISLAINE Maxwell's life of luxury as sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein's alleged “second-in-command” has been revealed in court.  During day three of the 59-year-old British socialite's trial, jurors were shown never-before-seen ... Read more »

Thrifty Brits will give second-hand gifts to friends this Christmas – but only 1 in 5 don't mind getting a used present

ECO-FRIENDLY Brits will have a 'second-hand' Christmas this year – with many planning on wrapping pre-owned gifts for loved ones. A study of 2,000 adults who celebrate Christmas revealed 62 ... Read more »

EU drug regulator starts reviewing new coronavirus vaccine

FILE – Exterior view of the European Medicines Agency, EMA, in Amsterdam’s business district, Netherlands, on April 20, 2021. The European Union drug regulator said Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021 it ... Read more »

That radio DJ you hear might already be a robot

By Jane Lanhee Lee and Rollo Ross OAKLAND/LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Reuters) – Andy Chanley, the afternoon drive host at Southern California's public radio station 88.5 KCSN, has been a radio ... Read more »

‘I was given training to de-gay my voice': what it's really like to work in TV if you're LGBTQ+

Despite an increase in on-screen representation and hits such as It’s a Sin and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, being LGBTQ+ and working in television can still be difficult. It has ... Read more »

‘I'd rather be anywhere than at home for Christmas – even if my children hate it'

Suzanne Moore and family at the Taj Mahal It’s that special time of year, where normally I would be planning a getaway. Every family has its own special Christmas tradition, ... Read more »

You've been using your fridge all wrong – and it's pushing up your energy bills

TAKING the time to check over your fridge, of all places, this winter might help you save some money on your energy bills – you may have been using the ... Read more »

Three arrested after scaling fence of Australian Covid quarantine compound in middle of night

Three teenagers escaped from a Covid quarantine facility in Australia’s Northern Territory (Screengrab/YouTube/9 News Australia ) Three teenagers have been arrested after escaping from a Covid-19 quarantine facility in the ... Read more »

Minister gives ‘absolute assurance' No 10 followed Covid rules amid party claims

A minister has said “I can absolutely assure you” that Downing Street staff adhered to Covid rules last Christmas, despite claims that they held parties which broke social distancing restrictions. ... Read more »

Covid: 11.7% rise in 2nd dose coverage till November 30 during Har Ghar Dastak vaccination drive

The Centre’s ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ campaign for door-to-door Covid vaccination has led to a 5.9 per cent rise in the first dose coverage and an 11.7 per cent hike in ... Read more »

Two cases of Omicron variant detected in Karnataka: Union Health Ministry

Two cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in India, the Union Health Ministry has confirmed. Both these cases have been detected in Karnataka. “All primary contacts and secondary ... Read more »

Indian biogas industry can help reduce waste at landfill sites by 50 pc: IBA

Indian Biogas Association (IBA), an industry body of operators, manufacturers and planners of biogas plants, on Thursday said that the biogas industry can help reduce waste landing at landfill sites ... Read more »

Several steps being taken to help reduce air pollution levels in country: Govt

Several steps are being taken to help reduce air pollution levels in the country and monitoring stations have been set up in 132 cities, Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav informed Rajya ... Read more »

Bartlesville woman enters blind plea agreement in child abuse case

Ashley Burnett A Bartlesville woman entered a blind plea agreement Tuesday in a case involving the sexual abuse of her 8-year-old daughter. Ashley Burnett is being held without bond after ... Read more »

Hot chocolate, glow worms and fairies: readers' best winter light displays

Ticket availability at some of the locations is now limited, but all were still taking bookings for various time slots at time of publication Winning tip: Dazzling glow worms, Wakehurst, ... Read more »

Larger firms may consider cancelling Christmas parties, suggests minister

Larger businesses may consider cancelling their staff Christmas parties, a minister has said after revealing his own event will be held on Zoom. Just two days after the Prime Minister ... Read more »

Betty Boothroyd musical to chart rise from dancer to Commons Speaker

She was a working-class Yorkshire girl who first took to the stage in a high-kicking dance troupe. The political stage followed when Betty Boothroyd was elected to parliament, rising to ... Read more »

Factbox-COVID-19 and the U.S. courts: challenges to Biden vaccine rules

Protest outside U.S. Court against vaccine mandates in New York By Tom Hals (Reuters) – Courts have recently blocked some of the Biden administration's rules and regulations aimed at increasing ... Read more »

Hospital employees in Sweden infected with corona after staff party

At least 20 employees at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg have been diagnosed with COVID-19 after a staff party. A total of 400 employees from one of the hospital’s departments ... Read more »

Cloud security firm Panther Labs raises fresh funds at $1.4 billion valuation

By Mehnaz Yasmin (Reuters) – Panther Labs raised $120 million in fresh capital as part of an early-stage financing round led by investment manager Coatue, valuing the cloud-based security analytics ... Read more »

‘Beats all the other stuff I've tried!': The £4 serum to make your skin glow in winter

We’ve found a new serum you need to know about. (Getty) Yahoo Lifestyle's editors are committed to independently selecting wonderful products at great prices for you. We may receive a ... Read more »

Ghislaine Maxwell sex abuse trial enters fourth day after first accuser testifies

Ghislaine Maxwell trial in New York By Luc Cohen NEW YORK (Reuters) – Ghislaine Maxwell's sex abuse trial was set to enter its fourth day on Thursday, following emotional testimony ... Read more »

More than a quarter of UK bird species at risk of extinction

Greenfinches have been added to the UK’s red list for birds (Getty/iStock) More than a quarter of bird species in the UK are now at serious threat, experts have warned, ... Read more »

Shawn Mendes drops emotional song It'll Be Okay following split from Camila Cabello

© Provided by Pinkvilla Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello left everyone surprised as the duo released a joint statement announcing their breakup recently. Almost two weeks after their split, Mendes ... Read more »

Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui song Maafi: Ayushmann Khurrana seeks apology from Vaani Kapoor in a soulful number

© Provided by Pinkvilla Amid the ongoing promotions of Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui, Vaani Kapoor and Ayushmann Khurrana have been going all out. Now, a new number from the album of ... Read more »

BCCI all set to request CSA to postpone series, two Tests likely instead of three

© Provided by The Times of India MUMBAI: The BCCI is all set to request Cricket South Africa (CSA) to postpone the India tour by a week. A plan to ... Read more »

IND vs NZ: 'Rahane needs to go' - Ex-India player says India batter 'first name in list' to make way for Virat Kohli

Team India will return to action in the second Test of the series against New Zealand in Mumbai. The first match of the series ended in a thrilling draw with ... Read more »

‘Show me one contestant like him': Salman Khan hails late Sidharth Shukla on ‘Bigg Boss 15'

© Provided by DNA Sidharth Shukla’s admirers, friends, and family have been devastated since he passed away. Several pictures of Shehnaaz Gill sobbing on the day of his death also ... Read more »

Disha Patani ready for Hollywood? Top filmmaker approaches her for an action film

© Provided by Zee News New Delhi: There’s big news coming in for Disha Patani fans! The actress, who has time and again impressed the audience with her looks and ... Read more »

BWF World Tour Finals: PV Sindhu registers comfortable win over Yvonne Li to qualify for knockouts

World champion PV Sindhu on Thursday qualified for the BWF World Tour Finals in Bali to keep India’s campaign alive at the prestigious year-ending badminton tournament. Sindhu registered a straight-game ... Read more »

Centre recruited 6.98 lakh employees since 2014, higher than previous 7 years of UPA: Minister

Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Thursday said the Centre has recruited around 6.98 lakh employees for its various departments since 2014 as against 6.19 lakh in the previous seven years ... Read more »

Cyclone Jawad: 33 more teams to be deployed, says NDRF chief

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting on cyclone-related issues on Thursday, the Director-General of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Atul Karwal informed that a total of 33 ... Read more »

‘Ordinary hero': Chinese food delivery driver dies trying to save elderly woman, community raises money for young family

The driver jumped into a river after noticing an elderly woman slip and fall into the water The community rallied to save money for the man, who left behind a ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic