No. 571 . 14 November 2012 

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Tassafaronga Village in Oakland by David Baker Architects, shown above, and the Sierra Bonita Affordable Housing in West Hollywood, discussed first and shown below, are two outstanding examples of architectural design pro bono. Photo: Brian Rose

Green Housing Pro Bono

by Patrick Tighe & David Baker

Sierra Bonita Affordable Housing

Paul Zimmerman, executive director of the West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation at the time, asked Patrick Tighe Architecture to present a scheme for a site the organization had acquired along with the city of West Hollywood.

Our mandate was to create a dense, mixed-use building for a corner lot along one of Los Angeles's busiest thoroughfares, Santa Monica Boulevard. Along with the living units, the project required retail space, as much on-site parking as possible, common space, and the necessary outdoor areas.

The scheme we designed provides forty-two apartments, along with 4,000 square feet (370 square meters) of retail at grade and two levels of subterranean parking. We addressed the density issue by stacking relatively small, efficient units.

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The five-story mixed-use Sierra Bonita Affordable Housing project in West Hollywood was designed by Patrick Tighe Architecture. Photo: Photo: Art Gray

The apartments are all one-bedroom, 620 square feet (58 square meters) with 8-foot (0.7-meter) ceilings. Although they are compact, an open plan and a relatively simple material palette combine to make them feel larger.

We designated the exterior wall in each apartment as a window wall to let in the maximum amount of light. The materials used, such as the exposed concrete floors, were chosen for their durability and environmental impact.

Previously, the city of West Hollywood had asked us for input on its initiative to draft criteria for green buildings in the community, and this building serves as a pilot for the resulting newly-implemented green building ordinance.   >>>


This article is excerpted from The Power of Pro Bono: 40 Stories about Design for the Public Good by Architects and Their Clients by Edited by John Cary and Public Architecture, copyright © 2010, with permission of the publisher, Metropolis Books.

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People & Places
People & Places
Green Housing Pro Bono
Open Up the Kitchen
Inside the Tipi with Roland Reed

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