Location: MacArthur Park, Los Angeles, CA
Client: Hope the Mission
Architect: Kadre Architects
Contractor: FORD E.C.
Landscape: Kadre Architects
MEP Engineering: CEG
The Alvarado site, situated in Mac Arthur Park, brings 45 newly renovated transitional housing units online for families experiencing homelessness. Interim housing, case management, three daily meals, and other support services will be provided on-site to further help residents adapt to having home shelter and move towards permanent housing.
At the Alvarado, design leadership brings a new incarnation to what was a two-star rundown, crime-plagued hotel, once a hotbed of illicit activities. Paint goes a long way when budgets are low. In reimagining the space, the Architects began with the entrance and faux Italianate façade, imbuing it with new energy and vibrancy. Due to budgetary constraints, the Architects could not remodel the exterior structure of the building, so they used it as a canvas for full-scale, artistically bold, creatively designed graphics that present the word HOPE, the client name, and mission––in the abstract. The welcoming graphic greets each resident with an inspiring message, creating a sense of belonging and dignity. Fostering community acceptance by creating a shared sense of beauty through public art -painting in three dimensions engages viewers on both the urban and pedestrian levels.
Graphics occupy every suitable surface of the building’s interior, the key idea being that of walking/moving through a colorful composition. Using the palette to enliven spaces brings about a sense of ownership with each floor having its own graphic identity – one’s own neighborhood. The graphic identity is given care in detail throughout elements in each of the rooms, floors, walls, and furnishings – to bring them together in meaningful ways. It is a canvas that’s alive as a place of pride, dignity, and sustainable innovation, offering positive solutions for our brothers and sisters in desperate need.
The reimagining of the Alvarado aims to further advance the state’s sustainability goals by providing a new photovoltaic array, one that will satisfy almost fifty percent of the building’s energy needs. Collaborating closely with the contractors and specialty consultants, the architects were able to carve out a budget that eliminates fossil fuels completely and switches the entire building to electric power, in step with the goals of the California Energy Commission. To minimize the heat island effect, the roof is painted white to reflect the heat outwards, which helps to keep the building cool.
The minimal front landscaping is drought tolerant so requires little water; the only available open space is transformed into a dining deck where through dappled light from the borrowed landscape of neighbor’s trees, tenants enjoy meals outside. The project is a painting that’s alive as a place of pride, dignity, and sustainable innovation, offering positive solutions for our brothers and sisters in desperate need.
Design and construction are on a record eight-month construction schedule with the building set to open on March 21, 2023.