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Studio One Eleven designing shipping container apartments for homeless in Watts

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Watts Works will have a “tranquility garden” and a community space surrounding an avocado tree

A rendering of the Watts Works project.
Courtesy of Studio One Eleven

The design firm behind Downtown LA’s The Bloc plans to build an affordable housing project in Watts that will use stacked shipping containers.

The project—named Watts Works—is a joint venture with LA-based firm Studio One Eleven, Decro Corporation, Daylight Community Development, and The People Concern. The developers received $23.8 million in Measure HHH funds to continue building low-cost affordable housing throughout LA, including Watts Works.

Studio One Eleven is designing the project in collaboration with Indie Dwell, a company that builds sustainable housing for underserved communities.

The four-story complex is slated to hold 24 studio apartments for “chronically homeless individuals,” plus a manager’s unit, at a site on Compton Avenue, north of Century Boulevard. Renderings show the containers will be painted grey and white, with a lime-green outdoor staircase.

Michael Bohn, design director at Studio One Eleven, says using shipping containers is cost effective and works well with smaller developments.

Slated to open December 2020, it will have a “tranquility garden,” community room, bike storage, barbecue area, and a community space surrounding an existing 70-year-old avocado tree. Social services such as counseling, community-based health care, and employment training will be provided on site.

“We carved out a side yard to accommodate a large existing heritage avocado tree [to] preserve an icon for the surrounding neighborhood,” Bohn says.