Every client we work with has one thing in common – a severe need for affordable housing. Often, with waitlists of 100 or more families, our clients need quality housing and as much of it as possible.
As architects, it is our job to design housing that maximizes the dollars available while also maintaining a level of quality, efficiency and comfort that makes the affordable housing we produce a true home for generations to come.
(Photos in the gallery are copyrighted by Ryan Siemers, 2016.)
We approach every project with a fresh perspective and endeavor to learn as much as we can about the needs of the tribe and the future residents. From here, we can take our wealth of experience working with affordable housing projects to overlay the things we know, alongside the unique needs of a particular project.
Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to work on many wonderful projects and are proud of the portfolio of work we’ve created on behalf of our clients. We are especially proud when our clients receive recognition for the projects we had a hand in creating.
Recently, the Sokaogon Supportive Services project, owned by Sokaogon Chippewa Housing Authority, received a Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award (rural housing category). From the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition: “Edson Awards celebrate Low Income Housing Tax Credit developments at the forefront of creating stronger, healthier communities in urban, suburban and rural areas nationwide.”
Obviously the most important feature of the Supportive Services project is that it provides a home for individuals who would otherwise be homeless or living in conditions that did not meet their needs. The reason this project is so successful is that it goes beyond just providing shelter. The unique design aspect of this project is in the concept.
Together with SCHA, we took an existing vacant motel building and increased the footprint and the size of the motel rooms to allow for fully accessible studio apartments each equipped with a kitchen and private front and back entries. Because the units are compact, studio-style apartments, an efficient layout was key.
SCHA furnished the units to ensure that every tenant moving in has a comfortable living environment. The building is in a visible location, near the tribe’s casino and hotel. The aesthetic look and feel of the refreshed building are also important.
We used stone accents and varied the roof line over the unit entrances to add dimension to an otherwise flat façade. A revamped parking layout and resurfaced lot with the addition of landscaping adds to the cleaned-up street view. The building also includes a central office space and laundry room for tenant use. A number of services are organized by SCHA and the tribe to support the tenants living in the building.
Providing affordable housing, no matter how simple or utilitarian is a cause worthy of recognition. Providing affordable housing with a unique design approach that maximizes the budget and brings a level of quality, efficiency and comfort to the future tenants is a challenge that inspires us in every project we participate in.
We are so honored to have played a role in the Sokaogon Supportive Services Project.