LEED For Historic Site Now A Shelter

Adapting an historic 1927 building for residential use was a major feat, but Los AngelesDowntown Women’s Center–dedicated to helping and housing very low income women–has a new, LEED registered home, thanks in part to Pica + Sullivan Architects.

The 67,000 square-foot, six-story building, originally designed by a woman–Florence C. Casler, working with architect William Douglas Lee–was sold to the Downtown Womens Center by the City of Los Angeles for a dollar after the renowned non-profit effectively lost its old facility. While lovely, the structure–which features Gothic Revival details, and was once known as the Renaissance Building–required quite a rehaul, from major plumbing and seismic work to state-of-the-art accessibility, fire and life safety, and other systems.

image via Downtown Women's Center/Jon Messer

Seventy-one residential units in the building now feature private baths and kitchenettes, high ceilings, and large windows. An integrated day center provides a nurturing environment for meals, personalized case management, health services, job counseling, support groups, art workshops, and more.

The project–which recently won the Los Angeles Conservancy’s 2011 Preservation Award–also apparently meets high standards of sustainability and is expected to take LEED Silver.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.