Providing Affordable Housing for a Vulnerable Population
The completion of the Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing Complex responds to several complex issues facing the country now. In a time where affordable housing seems nonexistent for many, senior populations are set to surge and discrimination against the LGBTQ community remains an issue, KFA Architecture has created a compassionate, welcoming sanctuary for low-income and homeless seniors within the Los Angeles area.
“The lack of affordable housing in this country is at an all-time high and presents even greater hardships for the LGBTQ community given the many biases which continue to exist. It’s an even greater problem amongst LGBTQ seniors,” says Ariadne Getty, President and Executive Director.
Covering 70,300 square feet over five stories, the senior housing is meant to complement the existing LGBT Center’s Anita May Rosenstein Campus, and with its completion, the building along with the adjacent youth housing project, completes a cohesive, 2-acre campus that celebrates the multi-faceted mission of the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
Built for seniors aged 62 years and over, the Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing will contain studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments. Of the 98 units available, 72 will be leased through a lottery system for eligible seniors, with rents totaling up to $1,175 per month. The remaining will be set aside for those experiencing chronic homelessness, their rents being paid for by county and city grants.
On-site residents will have easy access to Center programs specializing in HIV+ wellness, gender identity, and LGBT social and cultural support. Other services include meal service, case management, employment training, and more than 100 monthly free or low-cost activities.
Community Stands as the Focal Point for the Project
With the LGBT Center as the client, community was always meant to be the focus of the project. As such, the goal for KFA was to create a place that was safe, welcoming and affordable for members of the LGBTQ+ community. The design of the building itself is a nod to this with a simple curved massing and smooth white stucco meant to compliment the adjoining community center.
On the first floor, residents are given access to a large main lobby that connects to many of the sites associated amenities while also giving ample views of the exterior courtyard. The location of these spaces is meant to provide greater accessibility for residents, co-locating the mailroom, TV area, community room, fitness and large laundry room with access to the courtyard, all within feasible distance of one another.
Outside, the courtyard opens into an area surrounded by lush greenery, providing seniors a variety of opportunities to socialize. From the BBQ area to the outdoor fire pit, the courtyard is at once a place for respite and relaxation while also providing enough space and utility to be able to host larger outdoor gatherings.
All units come with their own inset balconies and tall living room windows to provide both privacy and natural light. Each apartment is designed with grab bars in the bathrooms and are fully wheelchair accessible with wide door frames and kitchen space.
“These light-filled units and abundant on-site amenities will provide an uplifting, safe environment, and will enrich the lives of many vulnerable seniors,” states Monica Rodriguez, AIA, Senior Associate, KFA Architecture.
Preparing For the Health and Safety of Future Generations
The evolution of architectural styles over the decades is evident the construction. From materials to textures to colors, the senior housing complex embraces its location, while also adapting to meet the demanding needs of not just the current climate, but the potential future climate as the effects of global warming continue to compound along the west coast.
The senior housing, along with the rest of the campus, is LEED Gold Certified, employing environmentally preferred and low-emission construction materials and finishes throughout its design. The units themselves feature high-efficiency water fixtures and appliances, while the exterior includes ample spacing for EVs and bike parking. Additionally, much of the landscaping pulls from a non-invasive, drought-tolerant plant palette.