New Carver Apartments, Los Angeles California

Michael Maltzan Architecture designed the New Carver Apartments in L.A. California, completed in 2009. The 97 units house homeless, disabled, and elderly in a cost-effective yet stunning structure. The circular shape diffuses sound from the nearby Santa Monica Freeway.

Communal spaces on the ground floor invite the surrounding community to take part in kitchen, gardening, and counseling activities. Exposed concrete from the freeway structure inspire the concrete mass in this part of the building. It forms a dramatic staircase around the courtyard with galvanized sheet metal fins, metal architecture, and metal structure screening private units and private balcony spaces. Yellow slivers hint at the product of this arrangement. The sixth floor deck bring it back to a final communal space with an explosion of yellow.

This is an experiment that we have seen often before, highly visible and celebrated housing for the needy, and an effort the integrate it with the community at large. The cost is a whopping $18.4 million, and comes at a time when people simply don't have that kind of money to give away to charities like Skid Row, no matter how much it helps.

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