Ocean Breeze Apartments / atelier V

Architects: atelier V
Location: Santa Monica, CA,
Structural Engineer:  Berkoz and Associates , Mr. Ertunga Berkoz, Mr. Naci Berkoz
MEP Engineer:  Shamim Engineering, Inc., Mr. Mark Shamim, Mr. Kevin Shamim
Civil Engineer:  Warren Goeke and Associates, Mr. Warren Goeke
General Contractor: Alpha Construction, Mr. John Ambicki, Mr. Louise Laxineta
Budget: US $11.20M
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Mark Vaghei and Nataliaphotostudio

The long anticipated Ocean Breeze affordable senior housing complex located at 1458 14th street in the city of Santa Monica, celebrated its grand opening today.  Officials and dignitaries from the City including Councilmember Richard Bloom and members of Santa Monica Department of Housing and Economic Development as well as MacFarlane Costa Housing Partners’ President, Mr. Michael Costa, the Owners of the project were amongst those present at the ceremonies.  The project initially received its Architectural Review Board (ARB) approval back in February of 2006 but did not start construction until fall of 2008.

ground floor plan
second floor plan

The complex sits atop a standard 7,500 sf corner lot at the intersection of Broadway Avenue and 14th Street in the Braodway Commercial District (BCD) with the main entry off Broadway Avenue.  It consists of 20-low income senior units on 4 above grade levels plus an 1,800 sf commercial component on the ground level.  There are 16 subterranean and one grade level parking spaces in the project.  Typical unit sizes are approximately 600 sf on a single loaded corridor configuration with a considerable set back on the fourth level allowing for generous open-air balconies.  The total project is approximately 15,700 sf taking advantage of a density bonus as well as reduced senior’s parking requirement that the City of Santa Monica offered.  ” The small site, limited access, differential grades, the program and the city zoning requirements presented unique challenges that we had to overcome.” says Mark Vaghei , AIA, atelier V’s Principal in charge of design.  Due to the differential of at least 18 inches in such a small site , atelier V had to devise a “Double Slab” solution to the problem.  The first slab is the projects main structural slab topped by a secondary sloping slab with structural foam separating the two.  This solution “…allowed on grade entrance and no steps to all units as well as to the commercial space thereby eliminating the need for handicap ramps.” says Mark Vaghei, AIA.

The project is a 4- story Type V-A building with a typical shear wall and TJI construction.  The ground floor commercial open space is achieved through the use of a structural steel exposed braced system transferring the loads to the 14 inch reinforced concrete slab.  The exterior skin of the building is cement plaster and corrugated metal with Stainless steel cable railings.  ” We wanted to break away from the norms of low income housing design and give our client something extra without going overboard.  Fortunately there was precedence in Santa Monica for this objective to take shape.  We feel that we were able to achieve design excellence without being trendy and belonging to a any particular era.  Of course time will tell!” says Mark Vaghei.

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Cite: "Ocean Breeze Apartments / atelier V" 17 Apr 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 26 Nov 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=56278>
  • ben

    I don’t know why this is posted here.

  • http://www.redbubble.com/people/ornamentandcrime ornament and crime

    Hey ben,

    This project is a simple, rational approach to affordable housing. It uses a limited pallete of materials and a lot of repetition. Clearly it was done to a very tight budget and yes it isn’t the most arresting design you’ll ever see but I think it represents a good result. In particular, the ground plane has not been used as a car park so the street becomes a pleasant pedestrian environment and there is also communal courtyard space.

    Any interior shots ArchDaily ??

  • MarkM

    A very nice, responsible urban building. Simple, straight forward, and seemingly well executed. It would be nice to have more decent, city projects like this around.

    If I did the math correctly, however, it’s over $700/sq ft, which doesn’t seem affordable for either client or renter. Perhaps the budget was $1.12M?

  • Juan Gomez Velez

    Ben

    Senior Housing is a building type that is usually very utilitarian and mainstream, at times even grim, yet this is among the projects that should be given more attention to by both sponsors and designers, as the people they are meant to serve are currently being given with fewer and fewer options to choose from.

    As ‘ornament and crime’ says, this is a commendable example of low density, agreeable and yes, even appealing senior housing. The use of materials and the resulting low profile of the entire building envelope make for a seamless integration with its context. An immediate street access and some retail at ground level make all the more livable. I imagine most seniors will find the metal siding somewhat ‘modern’ to say the least.

    I like it, and I anticipate that those that get to live there will also.

  • Tyler

    I agree with Ben. Why is this project on ArchDaily? There is nothing innovative or inspiring about it…

    “…4- story Type V-A building with a typical shear wall and TJI construction. The ground floor commercial open space is achieved through the use of a structural steel exposed braced system transferring the loads to the 14 inch reinforced concrete slab. The exterior skin of the building is cement plaster and corrugated metal with Stainless steel cable railings…”

    …this is baseline construction for California…

    ”We wanted to break away from the norms of low income housing design and give our client something extra without going overboard. Fortunately there was precedence in Santa Monica for this objective to take shape. We feel that we were able to achieve design excellence without being trendy and belonging to any particular era. Of course time will tell!”

    …and I’m sorry to say it, but this project is already dated. If this is the kind of architecture we’ve come to celebrate in California, we are even further behind the rest of the world than I thought.

    As I regular reader, I expect better editing from ArchDaily.

  • http://www.tectonicus.com ben

    Juan and Ornament,

    While I do think the Ocean Breeze project above is incredibly well planned and civilly responsible, it doesn’t bring anything to the table, what is there to talk about? It just seems a bit boring to look at, as if it was hiding in the apartment building venacular of the 1950′s through the 1980′s.

    Have you guys seen the new housing projects by Michael Maltzan? The program, and budgets were very similiar, but Maltzan pushed the limits and creativity and burst out with what I think a beautiful and creative project.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/scpr/4229400502/
    also
    http://heavyworld.com/theskinny/?p=821

    I’m not trying to promote any firm over another, I would like to see more progressive stuff here. :)

    • sullka

      I don’t know…it looks progressive for senior housing to me.

      Go to google, do a search for “senior housing” and look at all the image results, compare any random image with this project.

      Maybe it’s typical california senior housing and you guys are tired of it?, if so…that’s nice!, senior housing on the east coast is just vinyl siding on so called “vernacular” buildings.

      I do agree some projects shouldn’t be posted here (not this one though), but I don’t raise those concerns or demands to archdaily, they’re doing a wonderfull job in building a huge architectural archive online for everyone to see.

      It’s not like you’re paying a subscription.

  • Dan

    Awesome project! I love it!

    Leave the holier-than-thou novelty-seeking to the dweebs. A crisp, cool, elegant, and refined building is always welcome in my book. Well done!

  • http://www.knock-ad.com Ryan

    yeah, this should not be on here … despite any aesthetic debates, when the “design” is described by mundane construction techniques and technical limitations alone, it is not design.

  • Another Ryan

    I find it amusing that Ryan does not consider this project as “design” when he proceeds to provide a link to his own work of similar aesthetic.

    Are you saying that all of your work is mundane and not deserving of recogniition? or do you have some revolutionary theories that you apply to your kitchen renos that make them “Design” in your opinion?

    • ryan knock

      No, at this point, I would not find any of my work worthy of this site. I posted my web link purely because it is an option! Seriously, just read the description of the project and exudes meeting only the minimum requirements . Granted, this is a solid project for the type of work it is, and better than 90% of the stuff that is being built these days, but just not the caliber of the typical posts on this site, as everyone else noted! That’s no reason to hate on me!

    • Tyler Martiné

      Ryan Knock’s criticism is accurate, and he’s not alone in raising it, as Ben and I have shown. But more importantly, it’s not a criticism of aV as much as it is a criticism of ArchDaily.

      If anything, we should respect him for offering criticism AND having the integrity to do so in his own name. This is the problem with anonymity on the internet. It’s SO easy to be snarcky when no one knows who you are. It takes courage to sign your name to your opinions.

  • Hampton

    It seems like the ‘arbiters of hipness’ feel like they own this site. As to why its posted here: People with opinions different than your own find much to like in the project. Words like “inspiring” and “mundane” are relative terms, keep in mind. You’d have to have your nose higher than a giraffe to simply say “this is not design”.

    • Tyler Martiné

      I agree, words like “inspiring” and “mundane” are relative, but the nature of architectural critique is subjective. I also agree that the archives of ArchDaily represent extensive variety when it comes to architectural solutions and opinions of them, which is a GOOD thing.

      But on the other hand, one doesn’t further the conversation by brushing aside a critique as simply snobbish or superficial. There are many merits upon which to judge a project.

      The point being made in this case is that aV’s project, while perhaps above average for the typology nationally, is hardly innovative for it’s context. Yet that is the line of reasoning presented by aV. Ben has presented Maltzan’s work as something better. Pugh + Scapra, Kanner Architects, and Lorcan O’herlihy have also done better, among others, right there in Santa Monica.

      My larger point was that we as architects in California have struggled to innovate in the multi-family housing and senior housing typologies, while the French, Dutch, and Spanish for example, have been able to do so for decades, and I find that frustrating. And when aV presents baseline code-compliance as a design strategy, I have dificulty understanding why we celebrate it as an achievement.

      Some of you may remember that the same conversation occured when this project was presented…

      http://www.archdaily.com/44508/casa-grande-senior-apartments-archumana/

      …which only goes to show that this is less about aV that it is about ArchDaily as editor and the state of architecture in California.

  • http://urbesaereperennius.wordpress.com bill

    Amazing what mature trees can do for almost any building. Also, the building is great and I don’t think its dull. Maybe that’s because I don’t live in some world class city and live amongst all sorts of old, poor crap. But when I look at this, and compare it to recent affordable housing I’ve seen gone up near where I live, I think it’s fantastic and something to shoot for. I wasn’t aware arch daily was like a popular mechanics type website where I could only expect to see interesting but crazy, theoretical renderings of things I’m unlikely to ever encounter, or some prissy, strictly for designers who eschew amateur lay people (ya know, the end-users) looking-in and giving their two cents on occasion.

  • Pingback: Atelier V’s Ocean Breeze in Archdaily « Vews

  • Wes

    Very cool! I was salivating over it.

    Maybe there is some local California vibe I’m not understanding where local people oppose this (I have no idea why…). I find it striking and really well detailed. Nice job!

  • Kez

    Thank you ArchDaily for this post.
    While innovative & trendy buildings are why I look in on the site, it’s these solid, best practice buildings which I learn from.
    Please keep posting.

  • Bran

    Why is there such an influx of senior housing all of the sudden? I see it everywhere. Forgive me if I make anybody mad, but I think this type of housing should be available to everyone. Not just senior citizens. Granted they’ve “paid their dues” and what not, but I don’t see any reason why they get the best views and location at an affordable price.

  • http://www.atelierv.com Mark Vaghei

    First, I want to thank Archdaily for giving this project some attention. Needless to say that although this project may not necessarily be “ground breaking”, it was still a struggle for us as the Architect to convince the Client to go this far. We feel that given the program, the budget, and all the pressures on us by the Client and the City Authorities, we were able to achieve respectable results. We difinitley wanted to avoid throwing a warped skin on it just to make it provocative as Pugh Scarpa did down the street, frankly, we think their project looks very dated already ans meaningless in many ways. Additionally, if the opinion of the end users and the community mean anything at all, both groups are raving about the project and are satisfied. The objective was simply to contribute to one corner of Santa Monica not as a “Figural” building but as sound “solution” to a problem. Yes, we would have liked to have done more but not necessarily in a provocative way, but perhaps in even better detailing.

  • ocean breeze tenant

    I live in this building and the conditions are really bad. The building is built with the cheapest materials available and the owners and management company are greedy and never return calls.