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Worlds of Homelessness
SCI-Arc homelessness charrette

Photo of the SCI-Arc Homeless Charrette Interview Booth
© Goethe-Institut Los Angeles

Watch the inspiring debates and presentations given at the inauguration of the Charette January 11th - 14th, 2019, presented by SCI-Arc in partnership with the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles. 
Opening remarks by Hernan Diaz Alonso, Director SCI-Arc, Lien Heidenreich-Seleme, Director Goethe-Institut Los Angeles and Mark Ridley-Thomas, Supervisor Los Angeles County.

The "Worlds of Homelessness" initiative of the Goethe-Institut is planning a two-year interdisciplinary discussion on the topic of homelessness as an expression of other social issues such as poverty, participation, inequality, gentrification, racism, and migration. As part of the project, the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles established a cooperation with Sci-Arc, one of the most important architect schools in Los Angeles, to exchange ideas and thoughts on the subject and to deal with various issues. The collaboration with experts, teachers, and students facilitated a first intensive exchange on dealing with architecture as a socio-cultural practice.

Design as a human right, not a luxury or a privilege, has been at the core of SCI-Arc's mission and pedagogy since our founding in 1972. It is in this spirit that the entire school turned it's attention to some of the most pressing issues of our moment and our city: homelessness. Los Angeles is an epicenter of shifting urban planning and housing issues, with homelessness surging over 40% in the past ten years alone. In a four-day, all-school workshop, SCI-Arc came together as a community of designers to contribute to the body of thinking on tackling this issue. Taking on the intense, collaborative format known as a charrette—a problem-solving effort involving the transparency and voices of all stakeholders— all 506 SCI-Arc students collaborated to affirm design’s responsibility to imagine and shape new futures that can be and should be in service of everyone.

SCI-ARC, Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, 2019

The four-day all-school workshop culminated in a public charrette on January 14th, 2019. Videos of the closed workshops can be viewed by following the links below.

SCI-Arc Homelessness Charrette: Welcome and Introduction

SCI-Arc Homelessness Charrette: Part II of the panel discussions 

SCI-Arc Homelessness Charrette: Conversations

SCI-Arc is neighbor to Skid Row, where the homeless crisis is at its most visible and challenging. SCI-Arc is known for meeting design challenges with radical, speculative thinking. They acknowledge that design in and of itself does not eradicate homelessness, but hope to identify new directions and fresh approaches for the many fields engaged with this crisis.

We are committed not only because of our proximity to Skid Row but because there is a moral imperative and an architectural challenge. Design must be implemented as a means for social change.

SCI-Arc Director Hernan Diaz Alonso

SCI-Arc students have proven time and time again that they have the capacity to generate unprecedented ideas and modes of thinking. Working with faculty, students, alumni, and key voices from around Los Angeles, SCI-Arc has identified the most pressing questions concerning homelessness, housing, policies, services, and public perceptions. Over four days, small groups of SCI-Arc students answered these questions with original research and design proposals. 

Charrette report

Following the charrette, a formal report and video feature were made available, as well as submitted to the Office of the Mayor. Read or download the full report here.

SCI/Arc Homelessness Charrette Report (PDF, 70 MB)