Responding to the need for community venues for the arts, the nonprofit Place is building green artist residences and community developments throughout the country. Their newly completed Working Artist Ventura (or WAV) LEED building is a bold plan that mixes arts, community, economy and sustainability into a single development. WAV also offers a residence for homeless families, a retail and arts center, and upscale lofts. The dynamic program includes a jazz club, a movie theater, an art gallery, studios, a cafe, and restaurants. Most importantly, WAV is a community for arts of all genres.
The project has 69 residences and is only the second LEED low income housing project in California. Housing units range from affordable studios for artists to lofts sporting views of the ocean and the coastal mountains. Many of the spaces rent on a sliding scale. The community’s small solar array may be more symbolic than effective, but the mixed-use high-density layout and cultural significance of the project is what good sustainable design is all about. The commons features a community garden and, the gallery, music venue, and theater are all available for the residents to use. The project is really a community creative campus with a built-in neighborhood.
Anticipating LEED Gold certification, WAV takes care of all the basics — water and energy-saving appliances, tucked under parking with plugs for electric cars, recycled materials, on-site renewable energy, and low albedo surfaces to keep the hot summer sun from cooking the building. There is a car-sharing program and a host of other LEED-based green measures.