Architect: The Architects Collective
Owner: Century Villages at Cabrillo
Location: Long Beach, California
Category Two: Creating Community Connection Award
On a former Navy housing site in Long Beach, California, this project aims to break the cycle of homelessness through supportive housing and services for previously homeless veterans and their families. Anchor Place comprises four main components: a new building, renovation of an existing social hall, site-wide landscape, and street-level improvements.
The project reinforces a hierarchy of building and circulation, bolstering the legibility and connectivity of its campus context. With four wings, the design creates three courtyards that directly connect to community-focused amenities on the ground floor. A relocated bus stop connects residents to the city and world beyond, while the landscape helps lead those seeking on-site services directly to them.
The client’s primary goal was to develop a multiunit housing project that fits synergistically within the existing campus and encourages residents to access provided activities and services. The project offers 120 affordable one-, two-, and three-bedroom units and on-site services that include case management, counseling, and life-skills training, among others. Responding to its context, the design creates a prominent edge on the campus’ southern boundary while extending the east-west pedestrian axis. Three courtyards are all programmed differently and offer space for children to play, social activities, or quiet contemplation.
A social impact report published annually by the community tracks key performance indicators that relate to residents’ physical and mental health, quality of life, and housing stability. In 2017, 69 percent of residents surveyed rated their general health positively, while 77 percent indicated they were happy living in the community.