Downtown Drop-in Center

The Downtown Drop-in Center is a nurturing social place that augments nearby shelters by providing the homeless with on-site programming, counseling, and health services.  A sanctuary from the streets, the homeless are meant to feel like “guests,” and light is seen as the medium of the spirit, fundamental to the creation of an architecture of joy and dignity. While the hope was to attract at least 200 people a day, the Center has been attracting between 800 and 1400 guests daily.  It is considered a phenomenal success by the guests, the operators, and its owners, the Los Angeles Homeless Shelter Authority.  It is an uplifting social place and a model for cities nationwide for addressing the needs of the homeless.

"An iconic corner for San Julian Street, the community center uses classical motifs to frame modernist spaces inside and on the much-programmed balcony."
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Downtown - Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority
6,000 SF
1999 (designed and built in just over one year)
1999   AIA Los Angeles Award for Excellence in Design
2000   AIA Award of Excellence
2000   AIA California Honor Award for Excellence in Design
2000   LA Business Council LA Beautification Award
2001   AIA Institute Honor Award for Architecture
2002   AIA California Ahwahnee Award
Awards. (for Archive)
Award of Merit for Excellence in Design, American Institute of Architects - Los Angeles, 1999
Award of Excellence - National Concrete Masonry Association, American Institute of Architects, 2000
Honor Award for Excellence in Design, American Institute of Architects - California Council, 2000
LA Beautification Award, Los Angeles Business Council, 2000
Institute Honor Award for Architecture, American Institute of Architects, 2001
Ahwahnee Award, American Institute of Architects - California Council, 2002
Project Team

Design Lead Principal:
Michael Lehrer

Project Manager Consultants:
Christian Arndt

Mia Lehrer + Associates

Farooq Ameen

Landscape Architect
Swimming Pool Engineer
Jones & Madhavan
Jones & Madhavan
Jones & Madhavan
Project Management
City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation & Parks
City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering