Skid Row Housing | Rainbow Apartments | Michael Maltzan Architecture
Tonight, as I was browsing the Net for more information for my research on the Image, Identity and Integration in the Los Angeles housing development, I found these two videos about the Rainbow Apartments; a significant project, designed by Michael Maltzan Architecture, for the homeless community in Los Angeles. According to the Institute for the Study of Homelessness, an estimated 254,000 men, women and children experience homelessness in Los Angeles County.
As you will see here, this building goes well beyond the kind of project that would be developed for this kind of community – the homeless. With this project Michael Maltzan breaks the traditional paradigm of what affordable houses are and changes its dynamic. “The Rainbow apartments set up a new model not only for a building, but for an entire combination of social enterprises, and not only produces a new paradigms just for Los Angeles, but the possibility of creating a new national model,” says Maltzan. Besides, the project addresses how to counteract the insularity and hermetic nature of the inhabitants’ daily lives and concerns over safety and security, introducing openness, social spaces, and enabling a reintegration of their lives into public life as a whole. Arranged in a partially open U-shaped configuration, five floors of residential units cradle a central courtyard on top of a socle of parking and administrative functions on the ground floor. A chain of public spaces and exterior gathering areas are carved out or extruded from the mass to erode the building’s apparent solidity, creating varying depths of connection and views between the internal life of the courtyard and the world outside.