Byzantine Latino Community Center
Pico Union District, Los Angeles, California

To provide full design services from pre-design through contract administration for the construction of a community center within the shell of a historic masonry building which is a registered California landmark. This project commenced in September of 2001 with the preparation of a design study and budget estimate. The project was initiated by a UCLA Public Planning and Social Research project to ask resident immigrants of a crime-ridden transit corridor, including children, their views on regaining a sense of neighborhood. The design of a community center incorporates the past, present, and future as part of a master plan to build networks and achieve unity through a sense of excitement, ownership, history and place. The Byzantine Latino Quarter has been recognized twice by the City of Los Angeles and was voted a State Historic District by the California Sate Senate in March 2002.

In 2005 the client requested that SAI pursue a temporary occupancy of the building for community uses until construction commenced. Constuction was delayed because the fund raising effort undertaken by the Board were unsuccessful and the money for construction of the project was not available. SAI successfully achieved a temporary use permit and minor construction commenced to facilitate exiting, safety, security and toilet facilities.

After intense efforts on the part of SAI the project achieved planning and plan check approval in the 2006. The early stages of contruction went to bid in 2007 and construction commenced immediately thereafter. $2,000,000, from the State of California, was used to replace the roof, install new skylights, reinforcement of the roof truses, and bringing new services to the perimeter of the site. Construction ceased in 2008 when all the money was spent and there was again a failure of the fundraising effort.

Images below show the future project along with photos of the building in it's current state.


Client: Byzantine Latino Quarter Foundation

Organization Founder, Concept Originator and Dean of Saint Sophia Cathedral: Father John S. Bakas

Coordinator and Inspiration: Elizabeth Oldknow Huttinger

Team: Sorcinelli Architects Inc.

interior interior interior proposed elevation interior interior interior interior proposed plan and elevation


current front view looking east current close up of door current bell telephone logo current interior view