Contemporary. Hip. Accessible. Vibrant. Artistic.
These are usually not the words associated with affordable housing, let alone senior affordable housing. But that is precisely what Studio One Eleven aimed for when it was handed the development key to a collection of land parcels sitting at Anaheim and Long Beach Boulevard. And it just might be the future of not just affordable housing, but housing development in urban spaces as a whole.
Let’s go into what is simple about the Long Beach Senior Arts Colony and its attached two buildings, one another affordable housing complex and the other a soon-to-be built 12-story market rate apartment complex.
Originally a redevelopment project, the parcels were then sold to Meta Housing Corporation following redevelopment’s dissolution. Originally, Studio One Eleven was just on board for consulting—until it was discovered that the developer that was heading the project knew little about housing.
“We didn’t initially get the job,” said principal Michael Bohn, laughing. “We weren’t even invited; just hired by the City to do the peer review.”
Thankfully, the inexperience of the former developer led to One Eleven scoring the job and creating what is its most simple aspect: intelligently uses cheaper materials to make a beautifully well-made product.
Take, for example, its use of concrete blocks to simulate wood, even down to the reflection and varnish. Or, how the six-story building towers over the central, south facing courtyard. A developer building for market rate would typically set the top story or two back, providing dimension that would make the courtyard feel more open and less encapsulated. However, Studio One Eleven opted for a much more nimble approach by simply painting the top floor a differing coloring, giving the illusion that the sixth floor is actually set back. Read more…