City Design Studio LLC

downtown drop in center  los angeles ca

The Downtown Drop-In Center was conceived, advocated and designed as a unique collaborative effort spanning just over a year and involving numerous individuals and agencies. The program was succinctly translated into a strong design parti that evokes the notion of an oasis. The Center has successfully engaged the homeless in an active process of re-integration in the heart of skid row. The Center is based on the notion that the making of community spirit is unleashed in a typology of space that evokes assembly. Creating an outdoor "room" or courtyard is premised in the expectation that homeless individuals coming together away from the streets will be empowered to re-invent a sense of community for themselves in this space of respite.


The courtyard is articulated by the four envelopes or walls gifted by the three buildings or the wall at the Street.

In the spirit of oasis, a landscaped "garden" focuses the geometry to the source of water. Shade is created by the trees, various pergolas and outdoor covered sleeping areas and the geometry of the individual buildings. The success of this typology and its inherent "reading" by the users is expressed in the popularity of the Center for homeless individuals. Initially conceived and programmed to involve at least 200 individuals per day in this twenty-four hour facility, it currently averages about 800 persons per day or 400% of expectation. The Downtown Center has successfully addressed the clients program and budget, created an evocative space that empowers individuals and tectonically crafted architecture and space.