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Rose Apartments

Brooks + Scarpa

Venice, California, United States

March 2023


Lawrence Scarpa (Lead Designer), Angela Brooks (Principal-in-Charge)



Venice Community Housing Corporation


Jeff Durkin, Breadtruck Films


This new LEED Gold four-story 35-unit Rose mixed-use 100% affordable apartment structure for transitional aged youths. When kids “term out” as they say when they turn 18 years old and are forced to leave a youth facility, most wind up living on the street because there is no place for them to go. Rose Apartments provides a home to this young adult who would otherwise be living on the street. It is the first new affordable housing project built in Venice in more than two decades. . Taking cues from the nearby Horatio Court, built in 1919 by Irving Gill, the building is designed around an elevated courtyard above ground level commercial space. The courtyard typology has existed in Los Angeles for more than a hundred years. It promotes pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods as an alternative to sprawl, creating usable space in the center of the project, instead of unused, leftover space outside of the building volume. According to Ken Bernstein, director of preservation for the Los Angeles Conservancy, a lot of the courtyard apartments build prior to the 1950s, especially in Hollywood and West Hollywood, were part of a search for indigenous architecture,” he says, as much as an attempt to create neighborliness. More than any other multi-dwelling housing, courtyard apartments, “make you feel like you belong to a place.” For people living around the courtyard, the space provides a sense of safety and privacy; the courtyard is a quasi-public space that mediates between the home and the street.


Not long-ago Venice Beach was overrun with crime and gang wars between V13 and The Shoreline Crips. Affordable housing projects were built with little concern of the residents. That has change 180 degrees in the last decade. Tour busses now visit the toney Venice Beach neighborhood and a new wave of affluent people have arrived driving real estate prices thru the roof. The parcel of land was previously occupied by the non-profit developer and service provider. While looking for land to build affordable housing in the area and finding it impossible to obtain land at affordable pricing, the architect suggested developing the land they already own which they could provide housing but also replace their existing social services.


The project provides affordable, low-carbon, supportive housing for underserved people within a mixed-income neighborhood, while taking a major step towards ending young adult homelessness in Los Angeles. The design emphasizes connections with the community, ranging from the community room and kitchen amenity open for neighbors in need, to biophilic design and visual connections to nature that can be enjoyed from the public way. The project site is highly accessible, with a walk score of 91, transit score of 84, and bike score of 95. Passively designed around a large open courtyard, most of the units have cross ventilation and abundant natural light. Upgraded wall and roof insulation, a light-colored roof and roof-top planting mitigate heat gain and reduce energy load. 95% of floor area has direct outdoor views, cross ventilation and natural light. Energy consumption is less than 48% of compared to similar housing project types.

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