- Gabriel Velasco
Veterotopia: Veterans Transitional Housing
By- Gabriel Velasco
Located just outside of downtown Los Angeles, the city of Vernon is the industrial backbone of this sprawling metropolis. With an area that is abundant with more factories and warehouses than residents, there are opportunities to redevelop large sites for the most essential problem plaguing the Los Angeles metro area, Homelessness. With Nimbyism and political inaction plaguing large cities from creative resolutions to address the rise in homelessness, this proposal intends to take an underutilized and undesirable industrial site and transform it into a place where those who are most in need can bring upon their own metamorphosis.
The formal strategy of the project was to create the fusion of residential and warehouse typologies that would create a building large enough to house a large number people while creating intimate and personal spaces. With the "ware-housing" scheme hovering above the ground level, the appearance is of a fortress of houses from the exterior, but a large expansive interior courtyard was created bring private and protected outdoor space for the residents. Each housing block varies with mixture of unit types (studio, 1 and 2 bedrooms) and their own private outdoor space allows for the dissimilarity of the housing forms, creating the formal gestures that make the project look anything like the mundane suburban home developments that are synonymous with Southern California.
With the users of the project specifically intended for homeless veterans, the goal of the project was to not only house them, but to bring together as many amenities as possible such as medical care, recreational space, educational space, gymnasium, and communal spaces for residents to use at their convenience. Bringing all these programs together on site allows this building to act as more than just a temporary shelter but as a bridge to take veterans out of homelessness and into their own home.