The Constructor

A Housing Complex Developed Using Shipping Containers

Housing Complex Using Shipping Containers, Hilda L Solis Care First Village, LA,

Housing Complex Using Shipping Containers, Hilda L Solis Care First Village, LA,

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The Hilda L Solis Care First Village is a housing complex in Los Angeles made of shipping containers for people experiencing homelessness. The 6400-square feet housing project is located on a 4.2-acre site in Downtown Los Angeles and was developed at a cost of $57 million.

Figure-1: Housing Complex Using Shipping Containers, Hilda L Solis Care First Village, LA
Image Credits: Dan Ursitti

The housing complex was created by American firms NAC Architecture and Bernards. The project was named after Hilda L Solis, who chairs the LA County Board of Supervisors.

The site is owned by the county and was initially planned to be used for a new jail. When the officials realized a count of 60,000 homeless people in the LA area, followed by the undesirable effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the plan was changed to explore the site for homeless housing.

Due to the increasing unhoused population and the Covid-19 pandemic, it was required to complete the project at the earliest. The use of modular elements helped speed up the construction and completion of the facility within just six months.

Construction Features

The housing complex covers 6400 square feet with 232 housing units and a common building holding a commercial kitchen, dining area, laundry facilities, and administrative spaces. The site is also equipped with courtyards, a dog park, and parking spots for staff and residents.

Figure-2: Parking spots as part of the Complex
Image Credits: Dan Ursitti

For the irregularly shaped site, a series of single-level structures and a pair of multilevel buildings were planned. Wood-framed prefabricated units, mobile units, and repurposed shipping containers were the modular components used for construction.

Figure-3: Single and Three-storey Buildings of the Housing Complex
Image Credits: Dan Ursitti

Steel shipping crates are stacked atop each other to form a three-story building. An attached structure of open corridors and stairs was used to give access to each unit. Each container holds two living units, each measuring 135 square feet. 

Large windows were cut on containers, and the walls and ceiling were fully insulated to make cargo suitable for habitation.

Image Credits: Dan Ursitti

Each apartment is equipped with a bed, microwave, mini-fridge, flat-screen and private bathroom. In addition, all units of the housing complex have heating and ventilation systems.

The housing facility opened in April 2021 and reached full occupancy within a month.

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