With so much green-focused home remodeling, rebuilding, revamping, redoing, reassessing, and buying, buying, buying going on, it’s easy to forget that for some, finding a place to sleep at night doesn’t come easily.

The Bridge in downtown Dallas reminds us that shelter, sustainable or not, can be elusive for many Americans. This homeless assistance campus housed in a reclaimed warehouse on a neglected brownfield site, was recently honored with a prestigious 2009 American Institute for Architects (AIA) National Housing Award  and a AIA/HUD Secretary Award in the Community-Inspired Design category. The building certainly puts to rest the notion that transitional housing is dark, dismal, dilapidated and dangerous. The Bridge, formally known as the Homeless Assistance Center, is airy, inviting, modern, and safe … a true place of sanctuary for those in Dallas with nowhere else to turn.

In addition to being a stereotype buster, the Bridge, designed by Overland Partners Architects and CamargoCopeland Architects, is mighty green. It’s aiming for LEED silver certification and features intensive daylighting, a graywater system, a green roof and other eco-friendly designs that help make residents’ stay comfortable, comforting and low-impact.

Writes World Architecture News

The importance of the psychological connection to daylight, large number of plumbing fixtures required, and desire to make something special out of a building that had been discarded, resulted in Light, Water, and Reuse as major themes directing the overall sustainable design solution.
According to the AIA, the Bridge’s multi-function campus was designed to accommodate 400 people and now handles about 1,000 folks a day. In addition to providing drop-in shelter and transitional housing, the Bridge provides health care, legal assistance, meals, laundry and recreational facilities, job and housing aid, and more. Its presence has helped reduce crime in the area by a staggering 18 percent.

The Bridge has been servicing Dallas’s 6,000-person-strong homeless population since last May. These awards serve as a wonderful first anniversary gift.

Congrats to the architects, the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, and everyone who helped make this deep-hearted project deep in the heart of Texas a reality.  

Via [Inhabitat] & [World Architecture News]

Images: World Architecture News

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

The Bridge wins big
The Bridge, a LEED Silver-certified homeless shelter located on a brownfield site in downtown Dallas, wins a 2009 AIA Housing Award.