Los Angeles-based KTGY Architecture + Planning’s Research and Development studio has unveiled an idea to reuse millions of square feet of empty retail stores as housing for the homeless. The “Re-Habit” concept calls for the installation of bathrooms, dining, sleeping, gardening, and job training facilities, transforming obsolete big-box stores into agents of social change. The concept comes at a time when vast big box stores such as Macy’s, JC Penney, and Sears are closing in record numbers, leaving large vacant footprints throughout the urban landscape. As a case study, KTGY has proposed the transformation of a typical 86,000-square-foot anchor store typology common to large retail outlets. With 35% of the U.S. homeless population unsheltered, the proposal offers three sizes of sleeping rooms: 20-bed pods, 12-bed pods, and 2-bed units.
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