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Harrisonburg Supportive Housing Project

Process—————30 July 2012

A recent project opportunity in Harrisonburg, Virginia allowed the Studio to further study the permanent supportive housing prototype. Supportive housing projects are an exciting new approach to providing housing to the homeless community. Rather than function as shelters, permanent, supportive housing projects provide single-person efficiency living units to each resident. This unit offers stability and housing predictability for the tenants as they re-immerse themselves in day-to-day living. Building new affordable housing units is a rare occurrence these days and we welcome the opportunity to investigate efficiencies in order to maximize the number of units that can be constructed in each project.

In the Harrisonburg project, our site was suburban rather than urban and the program was twenty four units in two buildings. In these diagrams we explore the potential of providing more than the twenty four units requested.

Our first task when visiting potential sites is to determine the orientation of the sun. This allows us to introduce qualities of natural light and ventilation into the design of every dwelling unit. Ample natural light, efficient space planning and a strong relationship to the outside are critical components in establishing a productive and healthy environment for a permanent supportive housing facility.

Our diagram shows a two story module that includes twelve five-hundred square foot efficiencies. The building also includes an office and reception space, a community room, and an exterior terrace on the second floor. The dwelling units line the perimeter of the building, giving each resident a connection to the exterior through either a small balcony or porch. Circulation occurs to the inside of the plan with an open core and skylights above. The exterior materials are meant to simulate the products already found in the neighborhood with horizontal wood siding matching bands of vinyl siding on the surrounding buildings.

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