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Michael Maltzan installs Star Apartments providing homes for 102 homeless people in LA

Italy - Jul 13, 2018 - 04:58   2416 views

LA-based architecture firm Michael Maltzan Architecture has installed giant version of Star Apartments at this year's Venice Architecture Biennale, which provides an in-depth exploration of the units to reflect what kind of a life is taking place in the buildings since 2014. 

Called Star Apartments, the giant models are presented at the Giardini of Venice Biennale to give an overall impression about the scale of the city, the scale of the building and the scale of the individual in the general sense.

Image © Italo Rondinella, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Star Apartments, completed in 2014 in downtown Los Angeles, was designed as a permanent supportive housing project, providing homes for 102 formerly homeless people.

"The building, created for the Skid Row Housing Trust, facilitates a recovery process and improved quality of life for residents that inspire a sense of pride, independence, and dignity," stated the architects in their manifesto at the Biennale.

Image © Italo Rondinella, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, the curators of the Venice Biennale, stated that "in Michael Maltzan's Star Apartments, which house long-term homeless people, the Freespace component create a world where individual can find the space to experience a new view of themselves - a space where a new community evolve."

"Existing single storey buildings at street level are modified  and incorporated. On the roof of these retained street buildings, 102 apartments hover. The space between forms an invented freespace opportunity for the new community. Confirming Maltzan's belief that good design is part of the healing, this project enriches people's lives, as well as the city of Los Angeles," the curators added.

Image © Italo Rondinella, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

The exhibition features three types of display at the exhibition space. The Scale of the City -  an isometric mural drawing of Los Angeles shows Star Apartments within the context of the expansive metropolis, characterized by an open, free and layered non-hierarchical continuum of space. A panoramic video elevation additionally portrays the activity and spirit of the street life along the building.

Image © Italo Rondinella, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

The Scale of the Building - The architectural organization of the building is best understood through the large model and additional drawings. The second-floor community level, an open and accessible horizontal plane of free activity, is rendered in particularly detailed form.

The Scale of the Individual - The freespace of each apartment, or the freedom to shape personal space, results in a rich diversity of interiors defined by the residents themselves shown through diorama models, detailed photographs, and through their own words.

Image © World Architecture Community

Image © World Architecture Community

Image © World Architecture Community

Image © World Architecture Community

Image © World Architecture Community

Image © World Architecture Community

The 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara under the title of Freespace, will be on view from May 26th to November 25th, 2018 in the Giardini and the Arsenale, and around other venues in Venice.

Top image © World Architecture Community 

> via Venice Architecture Biennale/Michael Maltzan Architecture