Dolores Shelter Program

Working to improve dormitory space at the Dolores Shelter in San Francisco, Interior Design students planned spaces to empower improve privacy for transgender guests.

Project Objective:

The “Dolores Shelter Program” introduced students to the principles of interior systems and spatial concepts through the creation/ development of 3D built and virtual spaces. In partnership with the Dolores Shelter Program [DSP], students undertook space planning and organization to empower DSP’s transgender population while improving the over-crowded dormitory and inefficient office/ common spaces. Students researched DSP’s site, conducted workshops, developed, and pitched proposals to the site Director to develop design concepts.

Project Outcome(s):

Students produced models to help visualize the design potential uncovered at the shelter and presented them to the Dolores Shelter administration. DSP staff was deeply invested in the ENGAGE project, and built close relationships with the students through regular feedback on designs and attending desk critiques at California College of the Arts. DSP Director Marlon Mendietta was so excited about the student’s designs for space saving furniture and privacy-providing bunk beds that he shared the ideas with shelter directors from across California. Assistant Professor Amy Campos has also presented this project at a variety of conferences in the U.S. and the U.K.


Most recently published as a case study in the compendium, Architecture Live Projects: Pedagogy into Practice. (Routledge, 2014).