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The Hilda L. Solis Care First Village

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles County, Department of Public Works


2022 Residential Design Award, AIA Los Angeles

2022 Award of Distinction, Modular Building Institute

2022 Best in Show, Modular Building Institute

2022 Finalist, ULI Americas, Terwilliger Center Award for Innovation in Attainable Housing

2021 Award of Merit, ENR California Best Projects

The Hilda L. Solis Care First Village provides interim housing and support services for 232 people formerly experiencing homelessness. This critical project came into being over a truncated six-month construction schedule at the start of a worldwide pandemic. Construction was initiated in October 2020 by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, who took decisive action to utilize $51 million in federal CARES Act pandemic relief funding. The integrated design and construction team's challenge was opening the facility within six months to meet funding source-imposed deadlines.

Shipping containers repurposed for living units

Off-site modular construction was quickly selected as the preferred delivery method for meeting the aggressive schedule. Modular construction supported the concurrent fabrication of buildings at multiple off-site locations. Repurposed shipping containers were locally available in Los Angeles and allowed the production of housing units to start within two weeks. NAC collaborated with three separate modular vendors to design 132 permanent and 100 temporary units with a full private bathroom for each resident. The campus-like setting also includes a 6,000 SF resource building with a full kitchen, dining area, and administrative support spaces.

Reimagining a brownfield site

Located on a 4-acre brownfield site adjacent to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, the project initiated the repurposing of a site acquired to replace the Men’s Central Jail with housing services. The site was previously identified in December 2019 as potentially suitable for developing permanent and/or interim housing, as the location is near major transportation hubs and services. An extensive construction effort was needed to mitigate the contaminated site, establish utility services, and provide building foundations for the modular buildings. NAC's experience with public works design and permitting, and construction was key in completing this highly innovative effort.

Trauma-informed care

The site incorporates low-barrier, trauma-informed care, and harm reduction policies and procedures into its program design and housing operations. Seven structures comprise the development totaling 63,339 SF. A unit layout provides a dedicated restroom with a shower, water closet, and sink for each unit. The self-contained integrated design provided safety and dignity to some of the County's most vulnerable populations at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Creating community in the spaces between

Balancing the need for production efficiency at every turn with a desire to create an integrated community setting, the design team leveraged the three-story exterior circulation balconies to overlook and animate the linear open spaces between each building. The one-story resource building providing a full kitchen, dining area, and support service spaces for the residents anchors the northeast corner of the radial site plan.

Innovative, respectful solution

The NAC design team is proud of remaining committed to the individual and collective needs of the residents throughout the development process, ultimately providing an innovative, respectful housing solution. The project provides safe, secure shelter, meals, and case management on a 24-hour basis for adults experiencing homelessness. Now operated by the Weingart Foundation, the Hilda L Solis Care First Village welcomed its first residents in March 2021.

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