Not far from THE SIX, a 34,000-square-foot South L.A. veteran’s-housing complex called MLK1101 is slated for completion within the next 18 months. Designed by local firm Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA), the 26-unit building, estimated to come in at $11 million funded by grants through affordable housing developer Clifford Beers Housing, shares THE SIX’s goals of reintegrating veterans into normal life. Both projects involved veterans and veteransupport groups to conceptualize their designs; consequently, the two share many of the same amenities: an all-white color scheme (“because of its optimistic qualities,” according to LOHA’s Patricia Bacalao), elevator access to every floor, a rooftop patio, exterior walkways, and community vegetable gardens.
In contrast to THE SIX, however, MLK1101 is designed to be more outward-facing: light flows through the facade’s perforated panels of corrugated aluminum, and nonresidents are welcome in the retail space on the ground floor. And while the courtyard is also elevated, it connects directly to the street via a grand staircase, which can also function as a social gathering space.
“The idea was social and civic connections,” says O’Herlihy. “How can these projects engage with the sidewalk, the street, and the community? Our approach is always that architecture is for everybody; you can’t let the budget lessen the impact of the building, but you can bring inventiveness to the solution.”