Over the past two decades, Michael Maltzan, FAIA and his firm Michael Maltzan Architecture have designed a variety of innovative, permanent supportive housing developments for the Skid Row Housing Trust, a nonprofit in Los Angeles which provides housing for people who have experienced homelessness. On Tuesday, October 13th, Maltzan will deliver the 20th Annual John T. Dunlop Lecture -Addressing Homelesness: What Can (and Can't) Architecture Do?" The lecture, which is presented each year by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, would typically take place at the Harvard Graduate School of Design but will be virtual this year.
While Maltzan has cautioned that architects have to be realistic about architecture’s ability to create wholesale social change, he has also asserted that architecture can’t stand back, and must assume an active role in the realization of sociological and psychological benefits that entities like the Skid Row Housing Trust are trying to make possible. Founded in 1995, his award-winning practice is dedicated to the design and construction of projects which engage their context and community through a concentrated exploration of movement and perception. The Skid Row projects, which serve formerly homeless people who are HIV-positive, elderly, veterans, and/or suffering from chronic physical and psychological disabilities, not only provide affordable housing but also include critical social infrastructure, such as health care and supportive services, that help individuals lead more stable lives.
“The groundbreaking work that Michael Maltzan has done with the Skid Row Housing Trust powerfully demonstrates that architects have an important role to play in producing housing for some of society’s most disadvantaged individuals that is both aesthetically beautiful and fosters a healthy community of residents,” says Chris Herbert, Managing Director of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. "The need has never been greater for such creative approaches to housing the formerly homeless as the pandemic has destabilized millions of renters across the country."
In this year's Dunlop Lecture, which was rescheduled from the spring, Maltzan will discuss his work with the Trust and what it suggests about the ways in which architecture and other design professions can help address problems of housing affordability and homelessness. After the lecture, Mike Alvidrez, CEO Emeritus of the Skid Row Housing Trust, and Helen Leung, Co-Executive Director of LA-Más, a non-profit urban design organization in Los Angeles, will join Maltzan to discuss the lower-income and underserved communities they serve in Los Angeles. Harvard Graduate School of Design Dean Sarah Whiting will moderate the conversation.
Click here to register.