Nominated by: Dahlin Group Architecture Planning
Location: Glendale, Calif.
Developer: Affirmed Housing
Architect: Dahlin Group Architecture Planning
General Contractor: Brown Construction
Interior Designer: Affirmed Housing
Photographer: Mark Davidson Photography
Project Website: Villas on the Park
Villas on the Park is a best practice model-setting residential service facility providing 83 permanent supportive housing units for the homeless at 30% to 50% area median income (AMI) as well one manager unit. Villas on the Park also offers onsite services by a developer and homeless services partnership in a city committed to housing its local homeless population. The objective: creating a community that provides a permanent home to formerly chronically homeless individuals, with priority to individuals living in nearby St. James Park. Initially, the community was greatly concerned about the project’s proximity to homes; however, after the design presentation, about half were so impressed they reversed position, becoming vocal project advocates. Villas on the Park won entitlement approval with strong community support and zero opposition at city council. Villas has a resident need-driven design: transitional spaces between outdoor/indoor spaces to reduce anxiety many experience in fully enclosed spaces (i.e., semi-enclosed outdoor landscaped courtyard with secured external access point via decorative metal gate, stepped-back massing for rooftop deck, open-air circulation hallways); and maximized programmable space by minimizing parking as most residents won’t own vehicles. Villas minimized staff parking impact (12 stalls) by placing 10 of 12 (one electric vehicle stall) in a parking lift system. Resident studio units have large, operable single-hung and fixed windows with tops flush at the ceiling. The community room’s floor-to-ceiling storefront creates visual connectivity to the urban street frontage and natural daylight. To emphasize the sense of community among residents, a sixth-level roof deck with views back onto St. James Park increases opportunities for use and social collisions to occur. To further reinforce community, there are raised garden planters for residents to enjoy a connection to nature.