Step Up On Colorado, Santa Monica, Calif.
Entrant/Architect: Killefer Flammang Architects
Builder: Shangri-LA Construction
Developers: Step Up on Second; Hollywood Community Housing Corp.
Photographer: Jim Simmons Photography
Hard Cost, Excluding Land: $15 million
Size: 24,000 sf
Completion: September 2015
Step Up On Colorado provides 32 chronically mentally ill and formerly homeless individuals with affordable studio apartments and access to supportive clinical services as well as social and workplace skills counseling they need to integrate back into society.
The multifamily building is located on a narrow lot in a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood at the intersection of 5th and Colorado near Santa Monica’s downtown, light rail, and the Colorado Esplanade—a pedestrian path that extends from the train station to the pier.
Inspired by a sycamore tree on site, the project was designed around the concept of a healing tree. A semicircle of organically curving balconies embraces a canopy of trees near the front of the building and provides filtered light. Opening the front of the building in this fashion promotes integration with the neighborhood, giving residents a sense that they have roots in the community. Gathering spaces such as the private central courtyard promote socializing and reduce resident isolation.
The studio units are ADA-compliant and fully furnished with a private bathroom. The building includes two manager units, two community rooms with kitchens, as well as outdoor decks, laundry facilities, a computer lounge and library, and support offices.
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