"We need to recognize that shelter, or simply housing, is not enough to shift the system that creates low-income and poverty concentrated areas. By using the Skid Row Housing Trust (SRHT) model of incorporating social services along with community building programs as an integral part of housing there is greater impact and a more holistic approach to meeting the needs, and changing the situation, of homeless people."
For Theresa Hwang, thoughtful design is not reserved for members of the loftier socio-economic echelons. Her philosophy embraces the everyday and everyone. That ability to find beauty even in unlikely environments puts her in accord with her Rose Fellowship host Skid Row Housing Trust and partnering architecture firm, Michael Maltzan Architecture, with whom she collaborated.
"Because SRHT places an importance on high design," explains Theresa, "it brings a sense of dignity and pride to the residents who previously had no safe place to lay their heads. Rather than create cookie-cutter housing, SRHT partners with both emerging and well established architects to bring beauty and positive attention to often neglected populations and portions of the city."
One of her main projects with SRHT was the Star Apartments. The mixed-use, commercial-residential, development with an array of comprehensive community amenities was a first for SRHT. The project included over 13,000 sq ft of community spaces with gardens, a running track, art space, a library and computer lab, exercise rooms and a community kitchen and dining room, in addition to the typical comprehensive supportive services, including a clinic. The Star Apartments not only provides spaces of socialization and recovery for the residents of the project, but also provides respite for the residents of the surrounding buildings in the SRHT community that have limited amenities on site.
Theresa is currently an adjunct Assistant Professor at Woodbury University and has stayed on as an architect at Skid Row Housing Trust and leads their community-engaged design projects.
She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Art History from the Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and a Master of Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2007. Theresa is a LEED AP and has spent over 10 years working with many community-based organizations in Boston, New York and Los Angeles.
Affordable rental housing
Common residential amenity room
Community service facility
Residential Unit Profile:
Affordable units are permanent housing for formerly homeless individuals.
100 Studio | 300-400 sq. ft.
2 1 BR | 550-0600 sq. ft