Modular mass-timber… Skid Row transformed.

NON-PROFIT developer Skid Row Housing Trust and Michael Maltzan Architecture have unveiled plans for a mass timber high-rise in downtown Los Angeles.

Unlike most high-rise buildings in LA, which are built from concrete and steel, the Alvidrez will be 12 storeys of mass timber above a two-level podium – one of, if not the first, examples of this construction type in southern California.


The name Skid Row has been immortalised in myth and music as both a place and a state of being. It is the address associated with the bottom rung of life’s ladder, the dead-end destination for the hopeless.

The original Skid Row was probably in Seattle and it got its name from the corduroy wooden tracks used to haul heavy lumber to the timber yards.

In an area of LA infamous for its homeless population, three social housing projects by Michael Maltzan bring a sense of decency and dignity to a fractured urban realm

The proposed LA construction will incorporate modular building blocks made of cross-laminated timber columns, beams, and gravity framing deck members that contain the basic dwelling unit types.

“Mass timber systems are typically more fire-resistant, provide strong structural integrity but are lighter in weight, are sustainable, and can provide time-saving efficiency benefits during construction,” the architects said.

Plans for the mass timber building emerged as the City of Los Angeles explores more cost-effective methods for building permanent supportive housing, including prefabricated modular construction.

The high cost of construction has been blamed for the slow pace of construction of projects financed with ‘Measure HHH’ dollars that will raise property taxes in order to issue a bond for $1.2 billion dollars to help the homeless in Los Angeles. The tax hike would last for 29 years and the bonds would build about 10,000 units of housing.

Skid Row in Los Angeles is a downtown 50-block section bounded by the Historic Core and Little Tokyo.