La Casa Permanent Supportive Housing
La Casa in Columbia Heights is Washington DC’s first new permanent supportive housing project for the Department of Human Services, consisting of forty single-occupancy living units with community and support spaces. The District operates a variety of housing types and models to accommodate the homeless, most of which focus on temporary, nightly shelter, however La Casa is the first private dwelling units, with full living spaces, kitchens and baths for the chronically homeless, and serves as a testament to new policy success.
In addition to maximizing the number of individual living units that could be accommodated on a small site, DC Department of Human Services also wanted to redefine a homeless care paradigm that typically produces antiseptic institutional type facilities. This project was fortunate that the municipal client sought a design quality that met or exceeded market-rate condominium buildings in the area. As the first new-build, permanent supportive housing facility, La Casa is an important milestone in the District’s effort to redefine the concept of housing for the homeless community.
The project is a joint venture with Leo A. Daly.
Awards | Press
2017 USGBC LEED Gold New Construction
2015 AIA Virginia Society Merit Award for Excellence in Architecture
2015 AIA MD Award for Excellence in Design
2015 AIA DC | Award of Excellence in Architecture
2015 AIA National Housing Award for Architecture
2015 Residential Architect Magazine Design Award
2012 Street Sense
2011 Washington City Paper
All photos copyright Hoachlander Davis Photography
The solid-void pattern of the façade emulates the adjacent multi-family residential buildings, achieving a contextual scale, and the fenestration further refines this texture while providing equal amounts of glazing for each dwelling unit.
Set on a high density urban residential neighborhood, La Casa’s urban planning solution offers a boxy design through a smart, simple rhythm on the main façade with the use of staggered widows and panels, adding a sense of motion. The seven-story building facilitates a transition from the nine-story buildings that face 14th Street to the lower four and five story buildings that comprise the Irving Street residential neighborhood. La Casa is designed to foster individualized identity within the context of collective housing.
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.