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Maltzan's Architectural Sophistication and Social Consciousness

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[Carver Apartments via You-Are-Here; Star Apartments rendering via NYT]

New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff raved last week about Silver Lake-based architect Michael Maltzan's Carver Apartments at Seventeenth and Hope, a recently-completed collaboration with the Skid Row Housing Trust. Ouroussoff says Maltzan "may be the only American architect of his stature with significant experience" in low-income and supportive housing, and that his designs "are remarkable for their architectural sophistication and their spirit of public service." The Trust's director told the NYT that the Rainbow Apartments, Maltzan's first collaboration with the Trust, where the design helped inspire yoga classes and a gardening club, made the organization realize how therapeutic architecture could be: "What we started to learn is how the design can help people get stabilized as a community. For us the building became part of the recovery."

Ouroussoff writes that the Carver building "makes visible, through its strong architectural form, a group of people that many in our society would often prefer to ignore." He commends its curved facade that pulls visitors to the entrance, and the laundry and community room, which overlooks the 10 freeway: "The window is made of acoustical glass, so that even at midday the noise is reduced to a soft hum. But it is so close to the passing cars that at rush hour, when traffic is barely moving, tenants and drivers can make direct and prolonged eye contact."

Maltzan's next Trust project is the Star Apartments (above right), a four story mixed-use for the corner of Sixth Street and Maple. According to a Trust newsletter (link goes to a pdf), it will include retail, parking, social service offices, and residential units for homeless men and women, and low-income individuals. Ouroussoff calls the design "an elegant composition of prefabricated blocks."
· Designed to Help Uplift the Poor [NYT]
· Michael Maltzan Archives [Curbed LA]

Carver Apartments

325 W. 17th St., Los Angeles, CA

Star Apartments

240 E. Sixth St., Los Angeles, CA