Leo A Daly has received a national Housing Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The award, in the category of Specialized Housing, recognizes the transformation of historic Building 209 on the VA's West Los Angeles Campus into therapeutic housing for formerly homeless Veterans.
"After being abandoned for decades, Building 209 now provides long-term therapeutic housing for individuals whose previous recovery attempts have failed, helping build the skills they need to participate in society, care for themselves, and reach their life goals," said a statement from AIA.
Leo A Daly provided complete architectural services for the renovation, which is the first permanent supportive housing project on the VA's West Los Angeles Campus. The 1944 former mental hospital, which appears on the National Register of Historic Places, was transformed into therapeutic residences for 65 Veterans, along with supportive facilities necessary to enable their transition to civilian life.
"We envisioned each of the private apartments as rehabilitative cocoons carved into the fabric of a historic structure. We used internal vocabulary of 'neighborhoods', 'street corners', 'avenues', and 'stoops' to generate opportunities for the residents to rebuild social skills and create an atmosphere of community," said Michael Walden, Director of Design for LEO A DALY Los Angeles.
Support spaces including classrooms, a training kitchen, specialized bariatric units, a healing garden, and multi-purpose rooms for vocational rehabilitation, training, and substance-abuse counseling.
The exterior of the 1944 Colonial Revival building was repaired and restored through careful research and following historic preservation guidelines. Its 46,000 SF cast-in-place concrete structure was rehabilitated and seismically updated to preserve its structural integrity.
The project surpassed its sustainability goals, achieving a LEED Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building program, the preeminent program for the design, construction, maintenance and operations of high-performance green buildings.
Building 209 is now serving as a prototype for two more therapeutic housing projects currently taking place on the campus, Buildings 205 and 208, which form a quadrangle with Building 209.