Brooks + Scarpa unveil The Rose Apartments affordable housing complex

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Young and formerly homeless Angelenos leaving youth facilities and foster homes now have a new place to seek safe, secure, and most importantly, completely affordable housing in the form of the Rose Apartments.

Designed by Brooks + Scarpa, the $20.6 million, 20,900 square foot permanent supportive housing development at 718–720 Rose Avenue in Venice recently opened to its first residents, all young adults who have “gave up” being in state custody and seek independent housing within the brutal Los Angeles housing market. Spread over four floors, the courtyard-anchored complex comprises a mix of 35 studio and one-bedroom apartments. Venice’s location at the intersection of Lincoln Boulevard is advantageous, convenient to public transit and bike paths, and located near a host of amenities, including a Whole Foods Market just across the street. The famous Venice Beach is also just a few blocks away. The site’s Walk Score is 88.

(Courtesy of Brooks + Scarpa)
view of a shared courtyard space in an apartment complex at sunset
(Courtesy of Brooks + Scarpa)

In addition to the pedestrian and bike-friendly location that does not require owning a car, the company notes that in addition to Rose Apartment’s obvious contribution to Los Angeles’ very limited affordable housing stock, the fact that the newly opened complex sits at the heart of a largely affluent part of town means that low-wage workers, namely those in service positions in Venice’s many bustling shops and restaurants, can actually reside and be part of the community in the neighborhood where they work instead of spending hours going to and from work.

interior image of a bright apartment
(Courtesy of Brooks + Scarpa)
aerial view of a building in venice, calif.
(Courtesy of Brooks + Scarpa)

The 35 affordable housing units top a dedicated base for commercial space while a landscaped raised courtyard serves as the social heart of the complex. The U-shaped project is a contemporary take on the once-dominant (and currently woefully underutilized) multi-family courtyard typology of Los Angeles.

Specifically, the design of the Rose Apartments takes its hat off to Horatio West Court, an iconic courtyard complex in nearby Santa Monica completed in 1919 with design by Irving Gill. As noted by Brooks + Scarpa, which operates studios in both Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale (AIA Gold Medal-winning co-directors Angela Brooks and Lawrence Scarpa are both Florida natives), this classic typology and due for a revival not only makes smart use of space at the center of the project and promotes pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods, but also “provides a sense of security and privacy; the courtyard is a quasi-public space that serves as an intermediary between the house and the street. This balance of intimacy and interaction, promoting transparency, is a key consideration for young residents who have experienced homelessness.

image of a white apartment complex in LA
(Courtesy of Brooks + Scarpa)
render of a person jumping down an outdoor social staircase
(Courtesy of Brooks + Scarpa)

The project’s U-shaped embrace of early 20th-century courtyard housing extends even to the building’s cement plaster-clad exterior walls, which have been scalloped to “give depth, relief and texture , a problem that affordable housing projects typically suffer from,” the company explained. A shimmering grain finish gives the facade additional shimmering appeal at street level.

As noted Spectrum News in May, when the LEED Gold-certified Rose Apartments opened, the complex, which includes on-site resident services, including case management and career development programs, is funded by the HHH proposal and, among other things, , was the second such project to open this week funded by the 2016 ballot measure with the PATH Villas Montclair complex developed by PATH Ventures and designed by Gonzalez Goodale Architects in South Los Angeles (A also recently featured another project led by PATH Ventures, the KFA-designed PATH Metro Villas.) The adoption of the HHH proposal has led to the creation of 25 permanent supportive and affordable housing projects totaling more than 1,500 units with 74 additional projects underway at the time of the Rose Apartments opening.

view of a walkway at an apartment complex
(Courtesy of Brooks + Scarpa)
overhead view of people sitting on social staircase
(Courtesy of Brooks + Scarpa)

The Rose Apartments replace an office building that previously served as affordable housing and community development nonprofit Venice Community Housing, which spearheaded the project and now occupies administrative offices in the new building.

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