Young and formerly unhoused Angelenos transitioning out of youth facilities and foster care now have a new place to seek safe, secure, and, most critically, all-affordable housing in the form of the Rose Apartments.
Designed by Brooks + Scarpa, the $20.6 million, 20,900-square-foot permanent supportive housing development at 718–720 Rose Avenue in Venice recently opened its doors to its first residents, all young adults who have “termed out” of being in the custody of the state and are seeking independent housing within the brutal Los Angeles housing market. Spread across four stories, the courtyard-anchored complex includes 35 studio and one-bedroom apartments. The Venice location at the intersection of Lincoln Boulevard is highly advantageous: convenient to public transit bike lanes and located within close distance to a slew of amenities, including a Whole Foods Market just across the street. Venice’s famed beach is also just several blocks away. The Walk Score for the site is 88.
In addition to the pedestrian and bike-friendly location that doesn’t necessitate owning a car, the firm notes that in addition to Rose Apartment’s obvious contribution to L.A.’s severely strapped affordable housing stock, the fact that the newly opened complex is in the heart of a largely affluent section of the city means that low-wage workers, namely those employed in service positions at Venice’s wealth of buzzy shops and restaurants, can actually reside and be part of the community in the neighborhood where they work instead of spending hours on end commuting to and from work.
The affordable 35 housing units top a base dedicated to commercial space while a landscaped elevated courtyard serves as the social heart of the complex. The U-shaped project is a contemporary take on L.A.’s once-dominant (and currently woefully underutilized) multi-family courtyard typology.
Specifically, the design of the Rose Apartments tips its hat to Horatio West Court, a landmark courtyard complex in neighboring Santa Monica completed in 1919 with a design by Irving Gill. As noted by Brooks + Scarpa, which operates studios in both L.A. and in Fort Lauderdale (AIA Gold Medal–winning coprincipals Angela Brooks and Lawrence Scarpa are both native Floridians), this classic and due-for-a-revival typology not only smartly uses space at the center of the project and promotes pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods but also “provides a sense of safety and privacy; the courtyard is a quasi-public space that mediates between the home and the street.” This balance of privacy and interaction–fostering transparency is a key consideration for young residents who have experienced homelessness.
The U-shaped project’s embrace of early 20th century courtyard housing even extends to the cement plaster–clad exterior walls of the building, which have been scalloped to “give depth, relief and texture, an issue that affordable housing projects typically suffer,” the firm explained. A sparkle grain finish gives the facade additional shimmering, street-level appeal.
As noted by Spectrum News back in May when the LEED Gold-certified Rose Apartments first opened, the complex, which includes on-site resident services including case management and career development programs, is funded by Proposition HHH and, notably, was the second such project to open that week funded by the 2016 ballot measure along with the PATH Ventures–developed, Gonzalez Goodale Architects–designed PATH Villas Montclair complex in South L.A. (AN also recently profiled another PATH Ventures-led project, the KFA-designed PATH Metro Villas.) The passage of Proposition HHH has led to the creation of 25 permanent supportive and affordable housing projects totaling over 1,500 units with 74 total more projects in the pipeline at the time of the Rose Apartments’ opening.
The Rose Apartments replaces an office building that previously served as home of the nonprofit affordable housing and community development nonprofit Venice Community Housing, which shepherded the project and now populates administrative office space within the new building.