Skid Row Housing Trust, Michael Maltzan Architecture plan mass-timber housing tower

The DTLA 150-unit supportive housing project would be made mostly of wood, rising 14 stories

Los Angeles /
Mar.March 24, 2020 11:45 AM
Skid Row Housing Trust CEO Lee Raagas and a rendering of the project (Credit: Michael Maltzan Architecture via Urbanize)
Skid Row Housing Trust CEO Lee Raagas and a rendering of the project (Credit: Michael Maltzan Architecture via Urbanize)

UPDATED, March 31, 11:47 a.m.: Skid Row Housing Trust and Michael Maltzan Architecture are planning a 150-unit supportive housing development tower in Downtown Los Angeles — made almost entirely of wood.

The 14-story timber building would replace a five-story apartment structure at 609-623 E. 5th Street on Skid Row, according to Urbanize. Plans call for ground-floor case management services for residents, who would all be formerly homeless.

The Maltzan-designed building will be named the Alvidrez in honor of Skid Row Housing Trust’s former CEO Mike Alvidrez. Renderings show a modern-style building with staggered vertical sections, a white façade and offset windows. Some of the sections have rooftop terraces.

It could be L.A.’s first mass timber high-rise. Mass timber means that the primary load-bearing structure is made of wood, which is weaker than concrete or steel, but is also cheaper. The Alvidrez is designed with “modular building blocks,” according to the Housing Trust.

Maltzan and structural engineer John A. Martin & Associates received $200,000 from the state as part of competition to highlight mass-timber construction, according to Urbanize.

New construction methods have allowed designers to build taller than was traditionally possible with wood. Sidewalk Labs, a design studio run by Google parent company Alphabet, recently unveiled a concept for what could be the tallest mass-timber tower in the world.

Skid Row Housing Trust’s timber tower will be located a few blocks away from a 100-unit project that the group has under construction.

In September, the Housing Trust filed plans for a 64-unit development in Van Nuys. [Urbanize]Dennis Lynch

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Skid Row Housing Trust received $200,000 from the city of Los Angeles as part of a mass timber design competition. The competition was held by the State of California.


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