Affordable Housing in America Finally Catches up with Europe

by , 05/12/14

AIA/HUD Secretary’s Awards, affordable housing United States, low-income housing, social housing United States, AIA housing awards, Koning Eizenberg Architecture (KEA), Gelfand Partners Architects, Knapp Architects, homes for the homeless, accessible homes, Kings Beach Housing Now, YHLA Architects, biofiltration system, Sierra Bonita Housing, Patrick Tighe Architecture, micro-housing

The categories of the program included: Excellence in Affordable Housing Design, Creating Community Connection Award, Community-Informed Design Award and Housing Accessibility – Alan J. Rothman Award. These gorgeous projects, spotted over at Fast Co.Design, demonstrate that affordable American housing is finally catching up with successful social housing programs developed in Europe.

Koning Eizenberg Architecture (KEA) transformed a 1926 building in Los Angeles into a piece of modern residential architecture with an integrated photovoltaic system, a new perforated metal skin and a picturesque rooftop garden. The existing structure, built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, was reconfigured and restored while preserving its key historic features and important role in the communal life of 28th Street in Los Angeles. The housing capacity of the development features low-income units and living spaces for the mentally ill and the homeless.

Related: Top 6 Green Supportive and Low-Income Housing Projects

Gelfand Partners Architects and Knapp Architects transformed a nine-story 1909 building in San Francisco into supportive housing for the homeless and a health center for residents of supportive housing and the homeless. They created 174 micro-units while preserving the original sky-lit second-floor lobby, auditorium, full-size gymnasium, offices, and meeting rooms.

Kings Beach Housing Now was built for low-income workers and families who previously lived in substandard housing developments in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Nine buildings are located on five sites and provide 77 LEED Silver apartments. Designed by YHLA Architects, the development is the project’s buildings are the tallest and highest density buildings in the region and feature an advanced biofiltration system which naturally filters 100 percent of on-site storm water.

Related: Brad Pitt’s “Make It Right” Transforms Historic School into LEED Platinum Affordable Housing

Sierra Bonita Housing is the first all-affordable mixed-use development in West Hollywood and the first designed and completed according to the city’s new Green Building Ordinance. Patrick Tighe Architecture fit 42 accessible units on a 13,000-square-foot site and within a 50-foot height limit, creating a fully accessible, pet-friendly, and beautiful home for low-income residents.

+ 2014 AIA / HUD Secretary’s Awards

Via Fast Co.Design

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  1. RoughDesigns May 21, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Hmmm, follow up, clicking through more links, another says this project cost 30% less, 14 million vs 20 million. Neither source is definitive (oh and Curbed had the 20 million, archpaper 14 million and Inhabitat alas didn’t post the price – I got that wrong). Still, even at 30% less, that’s $1,600 a month, which is still far from affordable. Affordable units MUST be around $100,000 to $120,000 tops, and then still must be subsidized by never ending gov’t payments, though small ones.

  2. RoughDesigns May 21, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    I want to live here! I’ll pay double the rent, use it to subsidize two apartments elsewhere!
    Kudos for Inhabitat and the articles writer for not only finding out what the construction cost is, but publishing it. Very hard to get hard data like that in RE / construction / architectural industry.
    Because…..I have to say it…..
    $475,000 for a 600 SF 1 Bdrm IS NOT AFFORDABLE HOUSING!
    With a huge downpayment and low maint this is still over $2,500 a month.
    Shame on the gov’t for taking hard earned tax dollars (and fees for services and everything else the gov’t dings you for) to create this magnificent show place instead of 4 times as many truely affordable housing units!

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