Located in Van Nuys, Crest Apartments transformed a vacant suburban lot into a 45,000 square-foot LEED Platinum permanent supportive housing center. The building includes 64 studio apartments for formerly homeless individuals, with 23 apartments set aside for homeless veterans. Completed in 2016, the project includes supportive services and community space for residents including social services offices, a communal kitchen, laundry room, conference room, residents’ lounge, and an outdoor community garden on the ground floor.
CREATING HEALTHY HOMES
The building’s arching form stretches the length of the site, creating a sheltered courtyard with four residential floors above. The low points of the building touch down at both the front and back of the site, creating a physical relationship to the smaller-scale single-family residences to the south, and the commercial facades to the north. The lobby and reception are positioned at the front to welcome residents and visitors and activate the street. Inviting, light-filled spaces throughout the building form a network of healthy community connections that support residents. The four upper residential floors of studio apartments include large windows and are connected by open-air corridors that introduce vibrant color, natural light, cross ventilation, and views of the city.
A FUNCTIONAL & FLEXIBLE LANDSCAPE
The ground level landscape runs across the site, spreading beyond its boundaries, creating a unified field beneath the residential floors which hover above. The landscape of native, drought-resistant plantings becomes a self-sustaining ecosystem and a flexible surface which supports multiple programs, uses, and functional code requirements. The architectural and landscape design are fully integrated, enabling the efficient use of natural materials. Strict code and program requirements prompted the design team to think of the ground plane as a flexible zone that could accommodate required parking and fire lanes, while also providing informal open spaces for residents. By integrating landscape materials, such as permeable pavers that can withstand various loads, the demarcation between hardscape, softscape, and functional requirements are blurred to create an interchangeable ground surface.
EXCEEDING SUSTAINABILITY EXPECTATIONS
The project captures and treats over 90% of the site’s rain water providing a major benefit to the local environment and city infrastructure. Roof rainwater is directed and filtered through two bioswales and infiltration trenches. The remaining site open to the sky is completely pervious and absorbs all rain water, which recharges the ground. Through the extensive use of native, drought-tolerant and low-water plantings, the project reduces the overall demand for irrigation by 73% from EPA-established baseline usage for this area. The project was certified LEED for Homes Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council, and energy performance for the project exceeds Title-24 2008 code by 22.7%.