The Six

Architect: Brooks + Scarpa

Owner: Skid Row Housing Trust

Location: Los Angeles, California

Project site: Previously developed land

Building program type(s): Residential - Multi-Family 5 or more units, Residential - Mid-Rise/High-Rise, other

The Six, a 52-unit affordable apartment building, consists of 45 studios and seven one-bedroom apartments along with a second-floor recreation and laundry room, ground-floor offices, support services, computer lab, and on-grade parking for previously homeless and disabled veterans. Veterans constitute a disproportionate amount of the homeless population in the US. In Los Angeles, veterans comprise about 11 percent of the total homeless population. The tenants are generally older and have both physical and mental disabilities; therefore, the building’s operation was expected to be similar to special needs/assisted living.

Design of The Six emerged from close consideration of passive design strategies, including shaping and orienting the building for natural ventilation and designing windows to maximize daylighting. Solar panels are utilized to heat domestic hot water. Based on the Title 24 Energy Analysis for The Six, the building was 35 percent more efficient than California's Energy Code, which is substantially better than the national average.

"The courtyard makes a public protected space and provides a communal harbor for a vulnerable population. Passive strategies are identified at the building and unit scale. The units are light-filled, and the courtyard provides ventilation." - Jury comment

The design deemphasizes a reclusive, isolating layout in favor of a community-oriented, interactive space. A large courtyard orients tenants to social and public spaces and provides a secure circulation space from the street to their apartment. At a density of 152 units/acre, the roof provides a quiet refuge for tenants, incorporating landscaping with trees, seating, and panoramic views of the neighborhood.

Located on a previous parking lot, The Six is infill housing in a multifamily neighborhood called MacArthur Park, which has one of the highest densities in the US with over 38,000 people/square mile and a total population of 120,000 people in 2.72 square miles. This neighborhood is a “walker's paradise,” with a 96 Walk Score and is near excellent transit and bike lanes. Most of the veterans that live here do not own cars and can easily accomplish their daily activities without one.

Additional information

Project attributes

Year of design completion: 2016

Year of substantial project completion: 2016

Gross conditioned floor area: 18,390 sq ft

Number of stories: 5

Project climate zone: Title 24 2013, Climate Zone 9 (3B IECC map)

Annual hours of operation: 5,840

Site area: 14,705 sq ft

Project site context/setting: urban

Cost of construction, excluding furnishing: $10,121,759

Number of residents, occupants, visitors: 125

Project team

Commissioning: Energy Inspectors, Steve Vang

Construction Manager: EGAN | SIMON Architecture

Engineer - Civil:  Barbara L. Hall, PE

Engineer - MEP:  Innovative Engineering Group

Engineer - Structural:  John Martin & Associates

General Contractor:  GB Construction

HERS Rater: Alternative Energy Systems, Troy Lindquist

Irrigation: Sweeney & Associates

Landscape Architect:  Brooks + Scarpa (with LandStudio360)

LEED Consultant: Global Green, Walker Wells

Solar Design: Promise Energy

Specifications: Phil Easton


Robert Berkebile, FAIA, BNIM Architects

Roy Decker, FAIA, Duvall Decker Architects

William Horgan, Assoc. AIA, Grimshaw

Vivian Loftness, FAIA, Carnegie Mellon University

Andrea Love, AIA, Payette

Image credits

TheSix 001 Front at twilight


Tara Wujcik

TheSix 020 Unit Interior

Tara Wujcik

TheSix 010 Front at sidewalk

Tara Wujcik

TheSix 023 Computer Lab

Tara Wujcik

TheSix 007

Tara Wujcik