In the desert town of Lancaster in Southern California, the city center had all but withered away until a group of developers set plans to revitalize the area. The first project is a set of 21 live/work studios for artists that includes a resident-run art gallery. Arbor Lofts, designed by LA-based PSL Architects, is an affordable and energy-efficient housing project for the "creative class" that hopes to spur economic development by making the site a destination -- a center of activity and a source of locally-produced artwork.
The affordable housing project is supported and funded by the City of Lancaster as part of their Downtown Specific Plan to transform this mostly vacant city area into a place of historic, cultural, social, economic and civic vitality. As there are many voids left by demolished buildings in the city’s core, the live/work development is an urban infill project and the first of its kind for the city. The five-story building provides parking on the ground level along with a resident-run gallery, courtyard and resident lobby. Each apartment has two stories and four bedrooms, plus a work/studio area with an open-floor layout that provides ample space for artists with families.
The 21 apartments were set aside for artists of varying ethnic groups, ages, and income levels in order to create a dynamic and diverse group of people. Energy-efficient design played a large roll in the project’s creation, with the building exceeding California Title 24 Energy Code requirements by 20%, and the lighting system exceeding the requirements by 24%. Low-flow plumbing fixtures reduce water usage, while energy-efficient mechanical systems help improve the indoor air quality, which is especially important for artists working with potentially toxic materials.
Images ©PSL Architects