In Venice, Calif., the recently completed Rose Apartments provides affordable housing to young people who age out of youth facilities and often end up living on the street.
Designed by Brooks + Scarpa, the four-story, 35-unit mixed-use apartment building will house transitional aged youths. The LEED Gold building also will provide affordable housing for “poor and disadvantaged populations in an affluent area of town where low-wage workers are critical but unable to afford to live,” according to the design firm’s press statement. By including affordable housing for transitional aged youths, the developer and design team could take advantage of California legislation that allows for increased height and density.
The building is designed around an elevated courtyard above ground-level commercial space. This courtyard typology, which has existed in Los Angeles for over a century, aims to promote pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods. For people living around the courtyard, the quasi-public space provides a sense of safety and privacy.
Rose Apartments is situated across the street from a grocery store, laundromat, and other amenities, so that residents won’t need to own cars. The structure is also blocks away from the beach.
Like many other traditional courtyard structures, Rose Apartments uses exterior cement plaster as the main exterior material. But Rose’s walls are scalloped to create depth, relief, and texture—which affordable housing projects often don’t have, the design firm says. The exterior walls also include surface-applied sparkle grain, which makes the facade shimmer. In bright sunlight, the facade quickly turns soft and silver.
On the building team:
Owner and developer: Venice Community Housing
Design architect: Brooks + Scarpa
Architect of record: Brooks + Scarpa
Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing: Breen Engineering
Structural and civil engineer: Labib Funk
General contractor: Walton Construction
Construction manager: AMJ Construction Management