Sustainable and Affordable Housing Built in Santa Monica

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The firm Kevin Daly Architects successfully renovated an old, vacant nursing home on the Westside of Los Angeles, turning it into sustainable and affordable housing units. The aim of the Broadway Housing project, as it is called, was to provide low-income families with a place to live that is within their limited budget, yet still environmentally and economically sustainable.

Broadway Housing is a three-story, four building complex that consists of 33 units. It is located on a 1.5-acre site, of which it intelligently utilizes every inch of available surface. The housing complex has access to a big community park, as well as a diverse range of transportation options such as the future Bergamont Station Expo line and newly established bike lanes.

The four buildings of the complex are arranged around an internal courtyard that consists of a play area and two fully wired community rooms, where meetings and classes can be held. This internal courtyard offers a safe environment for children to play in, as well as for other residents to garden, and even grow their own food.

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One of the main sustainable features of the housing complex is its green roof, which insulates the complex and slows runoff. The housing units were also fitted with custom window frames that minimize solar heat gain, as well as canted wall panels that breathe and release heat. The housing units have also been fitted with a vegetative screen wall that insulates and reflects noise. For irrigation of the landscape, a 15,000 gallon rainwater collection cistern was installed underground.

None of the apartments have an AC unit, since the temperatures stay comfortable due to the smart, integrated sustainable design of the complex. As for water efficiency, there are flow restrictors in the kitchens and bathrooms. The interior was also fitted with a 100% recycled CRI Green-label carpet, formaldehyde-free insulation, and low-VOC paint.

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The apartments in the complex vary in sizes. The larger three-bedroom units are located at the ground level, while smaller, two-bedroom units are located on the upper levels. The latter are connected via latticed bridges that envelope a central, shared courtyard. All of the 33 units also face the central courtyard and the designers made sure that each of the units gets plenty of natural light and has maximum ventilation.

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