Category: Architecture

Year: 2014

Salinas, CA

Salinas Gateway Senior Apartments


Bernard André

Located in the most walkable part of historic downtown Salinas, this innovative mixed use senior housing development provides fifty-two affordable apartments above a commercial retail space at the street level. LEED Platinum amenities offer an abundance of green and sustainable living features adding to an enhanced quality of life for the residents, most of whom have special needs.Drawing upon the region’s agrarian vernacular of packing sheds, cold storages and processing plants, the building’s materials and massing combine to express the Salinas ethos.

The four story building provides dignified affordable housing in the form of 52 senior apartments above a ground level parking podium and commercial retail space. The 159,000 sq ft building sits on a small urban infill site of 0.75 acres and includes a community room with computers, a lounge, two community patios and private balconies for each unit.

Because 50% of the senior tenants have special needs, the architectural design is simple, intuitive and flexible; accommodating people with a range of abilities (known as Universal Design). Additionally, the location is walkable, bike-able and is well connected to public transportation. Each tenant receives a free transit pass to encourage use of alternative transportation which is especially important for the community.

Environmentally preferable products are integrated throughout the project, including locally sourced materials, materials high in recycled content, non-toxic paints, coatings and materials free of VOCs. The well insulated building envelope includes energy-efficient windows and solar shading to reduce unwanted solar heat gain. Further energy savings are achieved through high-efficiency lighting, water heaters and Energy Star appliances.During construction, 65% of the construction waste was diverted from the landfill.

Additionally, the waste was reduced by implementing framing-efficiencies. The property’s maintenance team has been trained in the sustainable operation of the building and each household received a green building orientation tour and educational handbook prior to moving in.Two most outstanding features of the building are its green vegetated roof and its rainwater collection system. Rainwater is first collected from over 12,000 sq ft area of roof and delivered through roof drains to a settling tank, filtration media & cisterns. Over 62 thousand gallons are collected annually.A filtration tank first receives water before pumping to five cisterns that collectively hold 21 thousand gallons of water at a time. Water is then pumped through the irrigation system for site landscaping and the living roof.

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