2014 Recipient | AIA/HUD Secretary's Awards

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Sierra Bonita Housing | Notes of Interest

The design challenge of this project—the first all-affordable mixed-use development in West Hollywood and the first designed and completed according to the city’s new Green Building Ordinance—was to fit the desired 42 accessible units on a 13,000-square-foot site and within a 50-foot height limit. The design used minimal exterior setbacks and reversed the typical unit layout—locating the bedrooms along the interior building courtyard and the living areas on the street side—to capitalize on views and natural light.

The project also tested the cost effectiveness of photovoltaic systems, a rooftop solar hot water system, drought-tolerant landscaping, a computer-controlled irrigation system, environmentally friendly building materials, and Energy Star appliances. Passive solar strategies generate power for all of the building’s common areas, and a second system of rooftop solar panels provides hot water for the entire building. The east-west building orientation and north- and south-facing windows maximize daylight and minimize solar gain.

Individuals with disabilities, many of whom are house bound, participated in the development of this fully accessible, pet-friendly home for low-income residents. They asked for outdoor spaces and pleasant views from their living rooms. The building features extensive individual and shared outdoor spaces landscaped with fragrant flowering plants and ornamental grasses, all of which are low maintenance and drought resistant. Green walls of deciduous vines adjoin the photovoltaic panels and help buffer the traffic noise and dust from Santa Monica Boulevard. Two roof decks on the fifth floor provide additional outdoor space with spectacular views. Although the building is air conditioned, units can often be cooled with ocean breezes passing through the large windows. Nonprofit organizations that provide community services for residents occupy 3,000 square feet of street-level space.

Additional Credit

  • Engineer – Structural: Gilsanz Murry Steficek
  • Landscape Architect: AHBE Landscape

Photo Credit

    © Art Gray Photography

Sierra Bonita Housing

Jury Comments

We love this design—it’s quite inclusive, with lots of sustainable features and an efficient location.

It takes a California design vocabulary, turns it on its head, and accommodates someone who can’t afford a beach house but can live in that kind of design.

The outdoor space is gracious and useful, and the façade is awesome.

The screen wall adds a beautiful elegance to this building, which seems to be in an economically depressed commercial area.

2014 AIA/HUD Secretary's Awards Jury

  • Nancy Ludwig, FAIA, Chair
  • ICON architecture, inc.
  • Charlestown, Massachusetts
  • David Barista
  • Building Design+Construction
  • Arlington Heights, Illinois
  • Louise Braverman, FAIA
  • Louise Braverman Architect
  • New York City
  • Keith Fudge
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Washington, DC
  • Paul Joice
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Washington, DC
  • Jean Rehkeamp Larson, AIA
  • Rehkamp Larson Architects, Inc.
  • Minneapolis

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