June 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

In February of 2011 INVIEW participated in AIA (American Institute of Architects) design charette Search for Shelter.  It is an annual event brought together by the Housing Advocacy Committee whose goal is to address issues of homelessness and affordable housing.  This year eight projects were submitted by several non-profit organizations and ranged from mixed use redevelopment to interior remodeling to programmatic feasibility studies.  We were involved in two projects, and are happy to announce that one of them is given a green light.
 The Salvation Army Harbor Light building is located in Down Town Minneapolis, next to the Twins Stadium, and is offering  food and shelter to the people in need.  It is a six-story building; each floor is dedicated to various programs from emergency housing to chemical dependency treatment.  The shocking fact is that this building is completely full 365 days a year!
Our team was assigned with the task to reconfigure and improve the sleeping conditions in the Safe Bay area.  This particular area is located on the main level and is open from eight o’clock in the evening to seven o’clock in the morning to one hundred and thirty homeless men.  The sleeping conditions can hardly be called basic and consist of mats on the floor with very little space between them.

Existing Conditions

Existing Floor Plan

Two intense days of research, design and collaboration.  We studied some precedents such as airports, boats and hostels, where space is tight but the sleeping arrangement is still comfortable and adequate.  Our solution was to build quad bunk beds with dividers and small storage bins and space them out about two feet apart.  It would comfortably fit one hundred and thirty sleeping beds plus a small lounge area.

New Zoning Diagram

New Floor Plan

Bunk Bed Configuration

After presenting the solution to Hennepin County, the Slavation Army was given an approval to move forward and rebuild the space.   Although, no government funding is available, it is still feasible to complete this project with donation of labor and materials from private sector.  Currently, the Salvation Army team is actively searching for sponsors and volunteers.   The plan is to finish the project by Fall of 2011.  Our best wishes to the Salvation Army dedicated employees!

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