Yes, in My Neighborhood

Joseph Juhasz, Denver, CO
Robert Flanagan. Denver, CO

We report on the 
rehabilitation of a facility 
owned and operated by the 
Colorado Coalition for the 
Homeless. This was a joint 
undertaking by the University 
of Colorado and the Coalition. 
The facility is housed in a 
former Shul and houses the 
Coalition’s most recalcitrant 
clients. The shell of the 
building is a great historic 
significance—its interior was 
badly compromised. It is in a 
transitional gentrifying 
neighborhood which is part of 
the city’s current development 
plans. 
The purpose of the 
intervention is to make a 
strong, unambiguous 
architectural statement to the 
effect that the inhabitants of 
this building are normal 
people. The effect of radically 
stating in architectural 
language that the homeless 
belong in the city has its 
greatest impact on children 
and youth. Cities cannot be 
livable—children will never 
prosper in the city if the 
homeless are not worthy of a 
good place to live. Yes, in my 
neighborhood.
 The narrative of the past—the 
linkage of the narrative of the 
future and of the present to 
the past—is the key to the 
proper socialization of 
children. In architectural 
language this is a gesture 
well beyond historic 
preservation—it is nothing 
about preservation and 
everything about linkages and 
narratives. An architect does 
not write the narrative for a 
homeless person or anyone 
else—but in writing the 
building there is an invitation 
to the homeless and the 
homeful to participate with the 
architect in enacting the 
narrative. The private and the 
public contrast--as they 
interpenetrate.

Downloads