Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

Before and After - Killefer Flammang wins architecture award for restoration of downtown LA's Ford Hotel

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It had good bones, but after all, it was 87 years old and had been through hard times along with the rest of downtown LA. It was rat-infested and plagued by drug-trafficking.

But this week, the Los Angeles Business Council gave its "architectural award for outstanding renovation" to Killefer Flammang Architects for designing the restoration of the Ford Hotel at 1000 East 7th Street.

Wade Killefer said the hotel was so badly deteriorated, it "had to be totally gutted and even required replacement of its rotted columns."

The project, developed by SRO Housing, had its grand opening in December of 2011 and includes 175-sf light housekeeping units with kitchenettes and full bathrooms - including a tub. Now, it's home to 151 formerly homeless people who are poor or have mental illness. (Yes, it's a startling concept: fighting homelessness by providing housing.)

Killefer Flammang has designed more than 4,000 units of this kind of housing, and in fact, was one of the first firms to do so in and around Skid Row. But KFA has also done many market-rate projects in downtown. Killefer, a longtime board member of LAMP Community, doesn't see it as an either/or.  

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