Los Angeles-based design practice Michael Maltzan Architecture has transformed a vacant suburban lot into the Crest Apartments, a LEED Platinum-certified permanent supportive housing center that assists homeless individuals and veterans. Commissioned by the Skid Row Housing Trust, this striking light-filled property promotes healthy lifestyles with its inviting, community-focused design. In addition to serving the homeless, the 45,000-square-foot development also offers major benefits to the local community and environment with its stormwater management system that captures and treats over 90 percent of the site’s rainwater runoff.

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exterior view

look inside one of the apartments

Located in Los Angeles’ Van Nuys neighborhood, the $23.6-million Crest Apartments building consists of 64 units, half of which are allocated for homeless veterans. Also included are supportive services and community space for residents such as the social services offices, a communal kitchen, laundry room, conference room, residents’ lounge and an outdoor community garden. The building was constructed with a prefabricated timber frame constructed by CTF California TrusFrame and clad with LaHambra Integral Color Plaster. To let in natural light and views of the city, the architects punctuated the white exterior with aluminum-framed Arcadia windows and glazed sliding doors. The Suniva Optimus Series Monocrystalline solar modules and Heliodyne solar thermal collectors help offset the building’s electricity needs.

street view of project

aerial view

“The building’s arching form stretches the length of the site, creating a sheltered courtyard with four residential floors above,” says Michael Maltzan Architecture. “The low points of the building touch down at both the front and back of the site, creating a physical relationship to the smaller-scale single-family residences to the south, and the commercial facades to the north. The lobby and reception are positioned at the front to welcome residents and visitors and activate the street. Inviting, light-filled spaces throughout the building form a network of healthy community connections that support residents.”

ground floor exterior

native, drought-resistant landscape

Related: Michael Maltzan’s Prefab Star Apartments in Downtown LA

Residents at the Crest Apartments also enjoy access to a landscape of native, drought-resistant plantings that form a self-sustaining ecosystem supportive of a variety of uses. The low-irrigation landscape is also fitted out with two bioswales, infiltration trenches and permeable paving to manage almost all of the building’s stormwater runoff on-site.

+ Michael Maltzan Architecture

Images via Iwan Baan