This 21-unit apartment building is located in a rural-suburban district of Santa Cruz. The steeply sloping site is adjacent to the densely overgrown Rodeo Gulch, which provided both design challenges and assets to the project. The design nestles the building along the irregular gulch edge of the site, lowering its perceived height from the road, and making the most of the views into the riparian corridor. From the street, the three separate roofs break the mass of the building. A bridge provides access from the parking lot over the lushly landscaped site to the central community facilities on the upper level.
This project provides comfortable, private independent living for county-selected mentally ill tenants. The two story building is composed of two residential wings which meet in the center at spacious community facilities. The angle of the building maximizes the light and views for the tenants and creates dynamic geometry at the "kite-shaped" central lounge. The units are accessed from an interior, unconditioned corridor system, which increases the "indoor-outdoor" living concept in the mild climate.
The exterior of this building was inspired by the agricultural-industrial roots of the surrounding neighborhood. The building is sheathed in lap siding and heavy trims common to barns and industrial sheds in the neighborhood. The strong geometric masses of the residential wings and the sweeping roofs add to the perception of the buildingís relevance to the area. The units are all adaptable for handicapped access, and they are all equipped with exterior patios or balconies. A handicapped lift was provided to allow access to the outdoor patio, which connects with the corridor system.