16.9.2014

Broadway Affordable Housing in Santa Monica, California

The objective of this housing project is to provide low income families that work on the Westside of Los Angeles with affordable housing that is both environmentally and economically sustainable. The design clusters economical, repeatable housing blocks around the canopy of an existing shade tree.

An increased intensity and density was encouraged in the site development where a vacant nursing home is replaced by a three story, four building, 33 unit, housing complex with a green roof. Resting on a corner site, across from a large community park, the complex has access to a diverse range of transportation options including the future Bergamont Station Expo line and newly established bike lanes.

The complex maximizes every corner of the 1.5 acre site. The four, three story residential buildings are clustered around a starfish shaped internal courtyard with a play area and two fully wired community rooms at the rear. This community zone allows a safe environment for children to play and do homework, for adult residents to garden, and for classes to be held. Larger three bedroom units are placed at the ground level. Two bedroom units are placed on the upper levels and are connected by latticed bridges that envelope a central, shared courtyard. All of the units face this central courtyard and every room in each unit has access to natural light and ventilation.

The open design of the two, on-site community rooms, as well as the green leaf murals that decorate the ceilings, offers residents a natural light filled space for meetings and events. Special care was taken in developing these rooms, so that they best meet the needs of the resident community. Equipped with laptops, kindles, mini-iPads and a 40-inch television, one of the rooms is a technology center and the other, larger room is used for exercise classes, community meetings and a variety of other programs.

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A number of sustainable techniques are incorporated into the design from a green roof that insulates and slows runoff, custom window frames that protect units from solar heat gain, canted wall panels that breathe and release heat, a vegetative screen wall that insulates and reflects noise, and a 15,000 gallon underground cistern that collects rain water for irrigation. As a result of smart planning and integrated sustainable design the thirty-three units do not have air conditioning, yet remain a comfortable temperature throughout the year. On the interior there are flow restrictors in the kitchens and bathrooms, 100% recycled CRI Green-label carpet, formaldehyde-free insulation, and low VOC paint.

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