Casa Grande Senior Apartments / Archumana

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Architect: Archumana
Location: Petaluma, California,
Lot Area: 2.33 acres
Gross Building Area: 42,242 s.f.
Owner: PEP Housing
Year of completion: 2008
Photographs Aerial archives, team

Casa Grande Senior Housing has won the 2009 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award. This annual award, bestowed by Governor Schwarzenegger is “California’s most prestigious environmental honor, given only to Californians who exemplify exceptional leadership for protecting and enhancing the environment while at the same time promoting economic growth.”

PEP Housing was also named a National Green Building Award Finalist by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) for Casa Grande Senior Apartments. The project received a score of 103 points, more than double the points needed to earn a Petaluma Build It Green certificate.

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This 58 unit, low-income senior apartment development focuses on providing an environment that promotes wellness and aging in place. To that end, the overall design objective for this project was to create places that support and celebrate independent senior living in all its manifestations, regardless of physical capabilities. The concept evolved from a clear diagram that was derived analytically from site, program and the pragmatics of construction. This pattern was then clipped, twisted, interrupted and shaped to become an organic interplay of structure and space. The resulting site relationship is a grouping of “mini – neighborhoods” organized around a central promenade that serves as the main pedestrian street, culminating at the community building, garden, bocce ball court and adjacent creek. The network of walkways, second floor breezeways and connecting bridges supports and encourages residents to dwell in and freely explore their community in a variety of ways. A range of spaces from tight quiet spaces to grandly energetic ones provides an element of discovery.

site plan
site plan

The concept involves shaping the spaces between buildings as carefully as the buildings themselves are shaped creating courtyards and outdoor spaces to various scales and sizes for a range of intimate to grand community activities. The use of covered breezeways, a central promenade and intimate courtyards create an environment in which the inhabitants feel welcomed, engaged and connected. Outdoor plazas, patios, balconies and viewing windows further delineate this as a place to gather, encourage community and allow for discovery.

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In addition to meeting accessibility requirements of ADA, Fair Housing Act and Section 504, the design incorporates universal design elements in all dwelling units and in common areas. All units are equipped with a covered entry way, view windows that go to 6” above the finish floor, wheelchair accessible showers, grab bars at toilets, a wheelchair height – cabinet mounted kitchen oven, loop handle pulls on drawers and cabinets, adjustable height shelves in kitchen cabinets, front-mounted controls on appliances, front-mounted base cabinet garbage disposal switch, high contrast glare free floor surfaces, hand-push / finger pull door latches, electrical outlets mounted at 19” above finish floor, night- illuminated light switches and a bathroom wall mounted emergency call station that is connected to the managers unit. All second floor units are accessible from 2 elevators and a network of walkways and connecting bridges. Common areas include multiple laundry rooms on both levels, wheelchair accessible raised planters at the community garden, an outdoor exercise station and an at-grade access point to the creek.

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The buildings also promote health by protecting indoor air quality though the use of formaldehyde-free MDF cabinets, all recycled content carpeting, and non VOC paints. This development is Build-it-Green certified.

To realize an economically affordable solution for this HUD financed housing development, a typical unit floor plan in the majority of buildings along with a standardization of kitchen, bathroom and roof truss layouts were used.

This property is the first Build-It-Green certified multi-family project in Sonoma County. It passed with 103 points; double the 50 points (in various categories) that are required for certification. As a result, PEP Housing was a finalist for the 2009 National Association of Home Builders National Green Building Award for this project!

section 01
section 01

Some of the green features include: a photovoltaic system, hydronic heating, water efficient landscaping with satellite irrigation control, light gauge recycled content steel framing, and recycling a minimum of 75% of construction waste.

Casa Grande Senior Housing has won the 2009 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award. This annual award, bestowed by Governor Schwarzenegger is “California’s most prestigious environmental honor, given only to Californians who exemplify exceptional leadership for protecting and enhancing the environment while at the same time promoting economic growth.”

Cite: "Casa Grande Senior Apartments / Archumana" 26 Dec 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 Oct 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=44508>
  • http://twitter.com/jennywhang/status/7072587726 jenny whang

    RT @archdaily Casa Grande Senior Apartments / Archumana http://bit.ly/8FLyoS

  • Jeffry

    This is the state of innovative design in the US. And we thought the auto industry was in trouble! Nine years ago I sat in my first Environmental Systems course and we saw images nearly identical to these and with the most serious concern that an undergrad can muster, we thought “God help us.” LEED is an excuse not to do anything more and environmental sustainability has become a euphemism for vinyl siding. The fact that our governors (and even our president) are giving precedence to solar panels and overhangs in not the problem, it is that architect’s and developers are deploying these marketing schemes complete with the unnecessary but blatant disregard for the history of Architecture’s progress. This pile of sustainable manure is exactly that which will cause Architect’s to lose their jobs, their responsibility, and their place, at least in the US of A, unfortunately Canada ain’t much better in this department. Maybe Mexico.

    • leogar

      So what is the solution?

      • Jeffry

        Leogar,

        If sustainability requires our elderly to die in containers that resemble coffins more than communities so that the earth might live then the most pessimistic solution is that we should all die a bit earlier. Optimistically we might opt for an building sector that de-politicizes nature and requires, without benefit, energy “effective” solutions. If sustainability was simply a piece of “best practices” then developers, builders, clients, and architects could have the resources to shift their focus from marketing their grotesque prediction of our future. We might consider researching how we might live better as opposed to how we might die more slowly.

    • Daniel

      What do you want them to do? Not pursue environmentally friendly buildings? I suspect the reason most people here object to this design is that it is far too traditional to fit in their avant-garde dreamworld.

      Projects like this win awards because they are exceptional: most projects in the USA are not like this. Turning your nose up at anything less radical than what is published on these pages will alienate you from 99% of the current culture of building. I’m glad these architects were involved and produced such a fine project. I’ll bet even this level of achievement took quite a struggle.

    • Wes

      What do you want them to do? Not pursue environmentally friendly buildings? I suspect the reason most people here object to this design is that it is far too traditional to fit in their avant-garde dreamworld.

      Projects like this win awards because they are exceptional: most projects in the USA are not like this. Turning your nose up at anything less radical than what is published on these pages will alienate you from 99% of the current culture of building. I’m glad these architects were involved and produced such a fine project. I’ll bet even this level of achievement took quite a struggle.

  • http://twitter.com/homedecornews/status/7072959857 Home Decor News

    Casa Grande Senior Apartments / Archumana http://bit.ly/5tdE4U

  • Juni

    Amen. Totally agree

  • http://twitter.com/kthyk/status/7073067120 leporello

    カルフォルニア、ベタルマのシニア・ハウジング。日本でいう1LDKを基本とした2層の集住体。サブプライム以降このような建物がアメリカでも必要とされているようだ。http://bit.ly/8FLyoS

  • http://twitter.com/bstcabinetmaker/status/7073179757 Todd Inman

    Casa Grande Senior Apartments / Archumana-ArchDaily: PEP Housing was also named a National Green Building Award Fin… http://bit.ly/7MInOb

  • http://twitter.com/architecpassion/status/7073403610 ArchitecturePassion

    Casa Grande Senior Apartments / Archumana: Architect: Archumana Location: Petaluma, California, USA Lot Area: 2.. http://tinyurl.com/y9gl7c8

  • Benjamin

    Well said Jeffry. In response to leogar, you should look at the san francisco federal building. It is a good example of sustainable practice, civic responsability, and also engaging architecture.

  • eric

    I find it hilarious that they included sections and unit plans. Extremely helpful.

  • http://twitter.com/thewebspirit/status/7079856797 Sharon Miranda

    Casa Grande Senior Apartments / Archumana-ArchDaily http://bit.ly/4OF0ln

  • http://twitter.com/joyfullifer/status/7083874338 Joy L.

    Casa Grande Senior Apartments / Archumana-ArchDaily http://bit.ly/7rCgxn

  • gbot

    Don’t you recognize “The Broken Pedement”. It was the height of fashion in the post modern period of the 1980′s!

    I recognize that this is not of the same calliber as the San Fransisco Federal Building. Nor should it be. But, checking off a LEEDS check list does not make for a good project. And the fact that they are meeting or exceeding certain codes, doesn’t take my breath away.

  • jose

    building this community instead of two single family houses is a huge step, yet not enough

  • hj

    if this is the environment-friendly architecture we’re supposed to design to save the planet, I’d rather flip burgers.

    • Hampton

      The problem with too many architects is that they think their job IS to save the planet. Get off your high-horse people. You get hired to help clients with their projects (their vision, their priorities, and their tastes). Schools have been preaching the notion of architect as aesthetic saviour for far too long. The newer vision of architect as environmental hero, is also starting to get old.

  • http://twitter.com/livegreenguide/status/7088465831 Kenneth Ginsberg

    Casa Grande Senior Apartments / Archumana-ArchDaily: This 58 unit, low-income senior apartment development focuses … http://bit.ly/8xvZGx

  • http://twitter.com/ovindconst/status/7091498636 Ovind Constuction

    Casa Grande Senior Apartments / Archumana-ArchDaily http://bit.ly/8StcJz

  • jlkj

    The Broken Pediment has nothing to do with a styalistic gesture. But I will let you practice for a bit to learn why the section was developed that way. Projects like these are fun to read the comments for. I would be interested in knowing from your points of view the LEED points earned for San Francisco. Stay ideal folks.

    • Jeffry

      Fun can be synonymous with the gravity of any discourse. If you read my post with more attention than you’ve read this project then you would already know my point of view of the “LEED points earned for San Francisco”. Why idealism is scoffed at even on a post board is beyond my own understanding. We don’t always have to be whores to our clients desires. We must not be.

      • jlkj

        Jeff – “If you read my post with more attention than you’ve read this project than you would already know my point of view of the LEED points earned for San Francisco”. What?

      • Jeffry

        Ok, jlkj, I’ll spell it out for you. The “Broken Pediment” IS only a stylistic gesture (but only in that particular section) and has nothing to do with its environmental effects. You can know this by reading that the provided section including the “Broken Pediment” can only occur at exactly three, very small, moments on the project where the tangent of the inner arc of the primary arcing bar is parallel to the the orthogonal bar that it is casting itself against. The limited occurrence of this sectional condition indicates that it is not an environmental strategy, but rather something that looks “cool” in a particular section. It is simply two shed roofs with their backs to each other.

        And on the other note “Optimistically we might opt for an building sector that de-politicizes nature and requires, without benefit, energy “effective” solutions. If sustainability was simply a piece of “best practices” then developers, builders, clients, and architects could have the resources to shift their focus from marketing their grotesque prediction of our future.” (from my previous post)

    • DS

      Very true, jlkj. Its not a broken pediment at all, but two nearly-abutting shed roofs. These people will snap at anything to be critical!

  • N!CK

    Do not always blame the architect for this stuff.

    Too often people WANT this kind of houses… developers build what people want.

    • Jeffry

      There is no blame to be placed on any architect… though “Archumana” is asking for it. The blame is on Architecture. And if your architecture is as good as your grammar then I suppose you don’t mind this kind of thing anyway.

  • http://vitsee.wordpress.com vitsee

    spot on jeffry, well said

  • bawmis

    This building is perhaps better than average for the US, which does not say much. Instead of questioning the valor of this project I would like to ask why this marginally mediocre project is debasing THIS website. Will someone from the site please justify promoting the work of this office? This isn’t even a project that the Architectural Record would publish.

  • bawmis

    This building is perhaps better than average for the US, which does not say much. Instead of questioning the valor of this project I would like to ask why this marginally mediocre project is debasing THIS website. Will someone from the site please justify promoting the work of this office? This isn’t even a project that the Architectural Record would publish.

    • Daniel

      Perhaps it should be published there too? Arch. Record is also too often guilty of only publishing the cutting-edge modern projects. I find this project to be wonderful. Perhaps you should just come out and say that it appears too conventional for you?

      Do you practice architecture by the way? I’ll bet that this project is more appealing to most potential clients than 90% of the rest of the work that appears on this website. Granted, I love minimalist/modern design, but not everyone does.

      The plan configuration, exterior detailing, and environmentally sustainable measures are all too expensive and non-traditional for most of my clients.

  • toilet

    I’m assuming the developer got the Governator’s award and not the architect. Design wise, this project is something that can be done with little effort by anyone… development wise, it is quite a feet to provide affordable housing and with the engineering technology that is present on this site.

    • toilet

      …excuse my poor grammar and spelling :)

  • http://twitter.com/jastrapko/status/7122491028 Jim Strapko

    Senior Housing in a Contemporary Style: http://bit.ly/8wa4RX – even site lighting gets a shed roof

  • Michael

    HAHAHA this project is so awful. building green is no excuse to make bad architecture. Im sorry people. This is an architecture blog. not an environmental engineering blog. If its bad architecture its bad architecture, green or not.

  • savy

    this was a great job.congratulations architect