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The Six

The Six is a 57-unit housing project for the Skid Row Housing Trust (Los Angeles, CA) that houses disabled veterans and rejects the usual style of shelter by seeking to promote social interaction. Certified LEED Platinum due to its energy-efficiency, the building features high ceilings, a focus on cross ventilation and natural light, and concrete floors and walls that double as thermal heat sinks, while double-glazed low-E windows minimize heat loss and gain.

The Six consists of 5 stories, four floors of residential on top of ground level parking and community space. The name “The Six” is inspired by an old military expression of “got your six,” which means “I’ve got your back.” The Six provides permanent supportive housing specifically for veterans.

“Our building uses extremely low amounts of energy on both electricity and gas. And it uses very little water,” said the Trust’s chief real estate officer Dana Trujillo.

Bound by a tight budget, the architects at Brooks + Scarpa incorporated design gestures that would offer the biggest bang for their buck, which meant incorporating as much natural light and air into spaces as possible and keeping a fairly simple silhouette—knowledge the firm has gained from developing previous affordable housing projects.

According to Brooks + Scarpa: “The Six distinguishes itself from most conventionally developed projects in that it incorporates energy efficient measures that exceed standard practice, optimize building performance, and ensure reduced energy use during all phases of construction and occupancy. The planning and design emerged from close consideration and employment of passive design strategies. These strategies include: locating and orienting the building to control solar cooling loads; shaping and orienting the building for exposure to prevailing winds; shaping the building to induce buoyancy for natural ventilation; designing windows to maximize day lighting; shading south facing windows and minimizing west-facing glazing; designing windows to maximize natural ventilation; utilizing low flow fixtures and storm water management; shaping and planning the interior to enhance daylight and natural air flow distribution. These passive strategies alone make this building 50% more efficient than a conventionally designed structure.”

Approximately $4.3 Million from the City of Los Angeles was used to secure a Low-Income Housing Tax Credit allocation and leverage over $11 million in private equity, With ongoing operating support from the city and county estimated at approximately $500,000 per year, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles and the LA County Department of Health Services are ensuring the long term of the development and its residents.

Project Details


Los Angeles, CA


Skid Row Housing Trust


Brooks + Scarpa Architects

General Contractor:

GB Construction, Inc.

Total Project Cost:

$16 million

Total Project Size:

40,000 sq ft


AIA 2017 Institute Honor Award