The mixed-use affordable housing project in West Hollywood, California, addresses a severe housing shortage for residents living with disabilities. The 70,000 sq. ft. program responds to the city’s mandate to build as many units as possible on the site thereby bringings higher density into the urban core of the city.
Situated on a 13,000 sq.ft.lot on a dense urban corridor,, the building contains 42 one-bedroom residential units organized around a central courtyard. Commercial and retail spaces are located along Santa Monica Boulevard. Parking is provided at the subterranean levels and at grade. Each apartment has its own private front porch overlooking the outdoor courtyard garden facilitating social interaction among the residents and offering a respite from the density of the boulevard. Additional communal spaces exist for the residents as well as for public use.
A steel brace frame is introduced to carve out an interior void for the courtyard and satisfy requirements for outdoor space allotment. The design of the eccentric brace frame core isessential to the project. The structural core is seen as a 5-story lattice in the courtyard. The geometry of the frame is used as a pattern for the north and south façades of the building.
The building demonstrates one of the city’s core values of environmental responsibility and its commitment to green building and sustainable design, serving as a pilot project for the city’s Green Building Ordinance. The arrangement of the proposed architectural scheme facilitates an environmentally conscious approach to the building services design. Passive solar design strategies are used and include: a north-south orientation for the living units; orienting the building to control solar cooling loads; shaping and orienting the building for exposure to prevailing winds; windows designed to maximize daylight; minimizing west-facing glazing and designing units to maximize natural ventilation. Arrays of photovoltaic panels are integrated into the façade and roof of the building and supply most of the peak load electricity demand while serving as a trellis for shading the roof-top decks. A solar hydronic system provides free hot water to the residents. The internal bamboo forest in the inner courtyard creates a cooling microclimate.