kadre architects transforms california desert motels into vibrant 'sierras housing' project

kadre architects transforms california desert motels into vibrant 'sierras housing' project

from derelict motel to vibrant ‘sierras housing’


The outskirts of California‘s Mojave Desert have seen a transformation as two derelict motels have become a colorful new Sierras Housing community by Kadre Architects. With its efficient and playful design, the work breathes new life into a neglected space, providing thirty-eight units of transitional residences for previously unhoused families. The project’s success lies in its complete renovation of the former motel site. Gone are the sprawling parking lots, replaced by a park-like atmosphere. Permeable surfaces allow rainwater to replenish the aquifer, while colorful walkways meander through the property, creating a cohesive whole.


The Sierras Housing project, a sprawling 4-acre campus, is the newest location for Hope the Mission, a Los Angeles-based non-profit dedicated to helping homeless families. The project provides more than just housing, and unlike typical shelters that primarily serve individuals, the Sierras caters specifically to the needs of families. It offers residents a comprehensive support system, including on-site social services, a commercial kitchen serving three meals a day, and a variety of outdoor recreation and exercise facilities.

kadre architects sierras housingimages © Kadre Architects



comfort with shade, optimism with color


While the existing motel buildings offered limited space, Kadre Architects expands and transforms the outdoor space of its Sierras Housing project. The addition of solar porches — lattice-work structures flanking the existing units — effectively doubles the living area for each family. These porches provide additional square footage and create a rhythmic interplay of patterned light and shadow on the vibrantly colored walls.


The design prioritizes the well-being of residents, particularly families. Shade structures offer respite from the desert heat, while play areas and patios cater to the needs of children. The use of color goes beyond aesthetics as the bright hues reflect solar heat gain, contributing to a cooler environment. These pops of color also symbolize optimism, replacing the bleakness of the pre-existing motels.

kadre architects sierras housing
the Sierras Housing Project transforms two derelict motels into a vibrant community



bold and efficient design by kadre architects


Kadre Architects’ Sierras Housing project demonstrates the power of creative design in the face of limitations. While budgetary constraints led the team to scrap plans for a solar array, the resourceful use of paint and landscaping transformed the space. Of course, the use of paint lends a dramatic transformation within a tight budget. With both spatial and cosmetic design strategies, the team transforms a run-down site and prioritizes the needs of residents. This way, the team brings much-needed housing with the spirit of dignity and hope.

kadre architects sierras housing
families find safety and green space in the reimagined Sierras project | physical model

 kadre architects sierras housing
solar porches expand living areas for Sierras residents kadre architects transforms california desert motels into vibrant 'sierras housing' project
play areas, patios, and support services cater to families in the Sierras project


bold hues and playful walkways create a welcoming atmosphere at the Sierras

kadre architects transforms california desert motels into vibrant 'sierras housing' project
creative design uses paint and landscaping to maximize impact at the Sierras


Hope the Mission provides comprehensive support alongside housing at the Sierras


site plan
site plan

project info:


project title: Sierras Housing

architecture: Kadre Architects | @kadrearchitects

location: Lancaster, California

client: Hope the Mission | @hopeofthevalley
landscape architect: Kadre with TerreMoto
MEP engineer: CEG
civil engineer:  Barbara Hall & Associates, PE 
structural engineer: Nous Engineering
lighting design: Dan Weinreber, KGM Lighting
commercial kitchen: Jerry Stein, Global Restaurant Design
contractor: FORD E.C.

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