Text description provided by the architects. LA CASA is a new prototype for homeless care in the Nation’s Capital. Rather than function as a shelter, where clients are housed at night and asked to leave during the day, La Casa provides round-the-clock permanent housing for forty men. Each living unit is designed as a single person efficiency. This permanent housing will provide stability and predictability for the men as they re-immerse themselves into day-to-day living. Permanent Supportive Housing is a significant step in the transition from full time care to independent living.
With this project, the District of Columbia will redefine a homeless care paradigm that produces antiseptic institutional facilities. The architects were fortunate in having a municipal client that requested the design quality of La Casa exceed that of the adjacent market-rate condominiums. This is the first permanent supportive housing facility in the City and an important milestone for the District in its efforts to redefine the concept of housing for the homeless community.
Unit interiors are designed for space efficiency and durability. Inspired by more costly studio loft apartments, each dwelling unit provides floor-to-ceiling operable windows for natural daylighting and ventilation. The units offer functional simplicity, coupling a hybrid living, eating, and kitchen space with a sleeping niche. Warm and durable flooring of exposed concrete and bamboo complements crisp white walls and a refined gray kitchen. Unlike the efficiency units or single room occupancy units found in many supportive housing projects, La Casa is designed to foster individualized identity within the context of collective housing. La Casa’s building mass is carved at the street level to create an open and inviting entry. Layers of glazing provide visual access to the interior, reinforcing to the community the accessibility of the building’s programs, while also providing security.