This remarkable project is one of the three recipients of 2011 Housing Awards in the Special Housing category that recognizes outstanding design of housing that meets the unique needs of other specialized housing types such as single room occupancy residences (SROs), independent living for the disabled, residential rehabilitation programs, domestic violence shelters, and other special housing.Photograph ⓒ Scott Adams
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FALLINGWATER Edited by Lynda Waggoner
Determined to change the plight of its homeless population, the city of San Antonio, Bexar County, and both non-profit and private organizations worked together to develop a comprehensive “campus of transformation,” which addresses and treats all root causes of homelessness. The project borders downtown to its east and a low-income community to its west with close proximity to a restoration center and public transportation.
Site plan ⓒ Overland Partners Architects
The site itself was an industrial park that had included several abandoned warehouses. The unique challenge for this project was to create public spaces that invoked a campus environment while reaching out to the community.
The stakeholders’ goal was to not only provide services that treated the causes of homelessness but to create a flexible campus that would allow for the expansion of programs and the development of new ones. Architects and stakeholders also held design charrettes and progress meetings with service providers, interest groups, law enforcement, and neighborhood associations. The most important sustainability result is how it positively affects the city and each of its residents.
As a result of this state-of-the-art facility, city-based agencies such as University Health Systems and the Center for Health Care Services have become intimately involved in the operations, and volunteers are an integral part of the campus. It “has turned a formerly blighted area into an epicenter of promise and opportunity”.
Photograph ⓒ Paul Heste
Project details: Architect: Overland Partners Architects Associate Firm: Seventh Generation Design, Inc.; OCO Architects, Inc.; Drewry-Martin Architects; Valla Design Group Engineer; MEP: Blum Consulting Engineers, Inc. Landscape Architect: Bender Wells Clark Design Location: San Antonio