The five-story, U-shaped building hosts glass-fronted retail spaces at the corner and along one street edge. Its massing is carefully controlled by shifts in surface and materials on the façade, moving from zinc cladding with recycled wood insets, to simply detailed white stucco, to a carefully calibrated chartreuse paint.
Durability is key. Behind its gracious urban façade, the building houses a community that can be rough on a building: Many residents have physical or psychological disabilities, while others have been on the street so long that they have forgotten how to care for a permanent home. “As the owners of our buildings, we prefer to upgrade materials to maximize life-cycle and maintenance costs,” Schnur says. “A well-designed and maintained building also adds dignity to the lives of our residents.”
Security is necessary, but is not overbearing. Discreetly placed cameras scan the exterior of the building. Generous windows connect the lobby with an adjacent lounge, fostering community while allowing oversight.
A landscaped central courtyard features custom-designed tables and seating, and allows residents to gather outside, away from the street. Foldable glass walls in the ground-floor multipurpose room open onto the courtyard. On the other side, the clinic takes advantage of the daylight but still maintains privacy with a patterned glass wall. Anchoring one end of the courtyard is an open-air staircase.
On the four apartment floors, what might have been drab, double-loaded corridors instead are deftly designed with brightly painted light coves carved into the ceiling at the unit doors. The efficiently laid-out apartments come with durable custom furniture and basic kitchen equipment.
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