Building Communities Through Affordable Housing

December 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

The demand for affordable housing is greater than ever, and rows of uninspired boxes just don’t cut it anymore. Be it for seniors or the homeless, creating housing for specific needs requires unique considerations, and we have recently been working on a diverse portfolio of housing that highlights how different user-types create uniquely different designs.

Each of the projects below craved a fresh approach, and the innovative solutions we implemented produced distinctively refreshing results.

Long Beach Senior Arts Colony

Long Beach Senior Arts Colony is a 200-unit senior living development adjacent to one of the most significant transit nodes in the city. The first of two-phases, this project includes a significant amount of community amenities oriented toward continued learning for its residents. Located on a vibrant commercial corridor, the ground floor is activated with art studios, galleries, lobbies (that double as more gallery space) and fitness, billiards, and technology centers. A diversity of outdoor spaces including a community garden, a theater, and a dog park provide senior residents with a variety of experiences to find inspiration for their future creative expressions.

1044 Maine

1044 Maine is an active senior residential complex in one of Long Beach’s oldest neighborhoods. Rehabilitating a century-old apartment building provided unique challenges and opportunities, such as improving the efficiency of small units while also enhancing their accessibility. To accomplish this, we consolidated redundant storage and removed inefficient circulation, opening up the apartments for much easier movement. One of the existing units is being converted into a community and laundry room, and the walkway is transforming into a lush courtyard furnished with seating, a fountain, and festoon lighting. The historic structure is also getting a much needed face-lift, which will surely make it a much better neighbor and a role model for hundred-year olds everywhere!

Long Beach Ronald McDonald House

Long Beach Ronald McDonald House is a residential facility for families of children with chronic illnesses that provides an affordable, nurturing environment just a block away from Miller Children’s Hospital. Working with the Ronald McDonald House Charities and their volunteer Building Steering Committee, we crafted an intimate, home-like environment that emphasizes a sense of community without sacrificing privacy. With open circulation and spaces such as a communal kitchen, living room, and den, we encourage interaction between residents while at the same time providing areas such as a contemplative garden and secluded niches for privacy.

Pine Avenue Workforce Housing

Pine Avenue Workforce Housing is a 14-unit development in Long Beach that combines three existing multi-family properties into a single community. Merging the three properties into one complex maximizes efficiency for off-street parking and creates more open space and circulation. This housing is oriented toward families, with larger units and generous private patios as well as a series of open spaces including a central lawn, communal patio, tot lot, and community garden.

We are of firm belief that quality affordable housing contributes to stronger communities, and therefore deserves thoughtful design. After all, just because it’s affordable doesn’t mean it should feel affordable. A community is a community, regardless of the price tag.


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