Berkeley Place is a 47 unit very low income housing project located on a major commercial corner in Santa Monica. DE Architects and the non-profit developer were both committed to not only meeting the programmatic needs but also respecting the urban fabric of this part of Santa Monica. Because of the complex funding requirements, the project had to satisfy a myriad of constraints including providing a density of over 93 units per acre consisting of 15 three-bedroom and 32 two-bedroom units and a 1,000 square foot community room over 2 levels of subterranean parking on a 21,878 square foot lot.
The design solution was to create a split U-shaped building with a courtyard open to Santa Monica Blvd. The eastern half of the U relates in scale to the adjacent office building and hotel that complete the block to the east. The Santa Monica elevation steps down from 40 feet to 30 feet, respecting the massing of the block. Because of the grade change the two ground floor units facing Santa Monica Blvd. are almost 6-0 above street level. The western half of the U consists of a three-story spine floating over the community room. Since Berkeley Street becomes a low density residential street north of the project site, the spine angles away from the street, reducing the perceived scale. Five two-story bays protruding from the Berkeley facade further break down the linearity. The ground floor consists of 2 residential units with large patios and landscaping reinforcing the residential nature of the street
2008 Design Award of Excellence / CA Council Society of American Registered Architects
2008 Merit Award / Builder’s Choice Awards