Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles Photograph CollectionPhotograph courtesy of the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
Located in the Watts area of Los Angeles, Hacienda Village (103th Street and Compton Avenue) was completed in May 1942. In spite of a national embargo on "nonessentail construction work" due to WWII, Hacienda Village was given a priority rating by the national Office of Production Management. For a project to be given the construction "green light," first choice in rentals was "to be given defense workers in substandard homes, instead of to slum dwellers." (Los Angeles Times. October 11, 1941)
Selected as the chief architect on this project, Paul R. Williams worked with some of the most prominent architects of the day designing this 17.63-acre public housing project. Williams, along with Adrian Wilson, Richard J. Neutra, Walter Wurdeman and Welton Becket, created this planned development of 184 one-story units that conveys a feeling of 1930s California ranch house design. The architects' elimination of "every piece of defense-needed metal" and their use of wood frames, stucco exteriors and composition roofing added to the residential feel. Hacienda Village was built for a total of $503,206. E.P. Dentzel of Beverly Hills acted as general contractor for the large develpment. Dentzel would later build many of Williams' up-scale residential designs. (Southwest Builder and Contractor. December 19, 1941)
HACLA was founded in 1938 and is the largest housing authority west of the Mississippi. Its mission is to administer the public housing program in the city and provide affordable housing that is safe and decent.
In December 2000, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) renamed the project Gonzaque Village to honor neighborhood advocate Ozie B. Gonzaque, a long-time resident of South Central Los Angeles.