Sierra Bonita Apartments is a low-income mixed-use housing complex in West Hollywood that didn’t skimp on design. The project features inner green space, strips of solar panels, and a stylized lattice façade that lays out a stylish green presence in the neighborhood. The building, which heats its water with solar power and cools with an inner bamboo forest, is a pilot project for the WeHo’s Green Building Ordinance — one of the first ordinances of its kind in the country. Throughout the project Tighe Architecture successfully integrated high green design for low-income living.

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The 42-unit building houses a commercial space on street level to accommodate nonprofits, including the West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation, which commissioned the project. The five-story building features tucked-under parking and an inner courtyard on the second story. Typical for apartments in Southern California, the courtyard provides access to the living units. The design takes the idea one step further with a bamboo garden that stands tall within. This creates a cool micro climate that the residences can enjoy right out from their living space.

The eccentric angled courtyard façade acts as the supporting structure for the building and is clad in pink fiberglass to create a signature design. Solar-electric panels are arrayed in two columns that drape over the roof and hang vertically on the southern wall. Over 2000 applications were submitted for a chance to live in one of the 620 square foot apartments which serves the city’s special needs population.

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