Monday, August 24, 2009

Architect of the Week #2

OJK Architecture and Planning, San Jose, CA

The Gish Apartments, located in San Jose, California, are on the list of top 10 green projects for 2009 created by The American Institute of Architects. This 35-unit transit-oriented family apartment complex is targeted for a community who's income is 35%-50% of what the medium income for the area is. About a third of the apartments (13 apartments total) are set aside for residents with disabilities. " The complex is a model for the State of California's Multifamily Housing Program for mainstreaming special needs populations. "

"The mixed-use plan includes a convenience store and a beauty salon on the ground floor. Residents have access to a computer center and are provided with services tailored to support low-income families, such as financial literacy training, computer training, and after-school programs. Housing Choices Coalition provides coordination of services for residents who have developmental disabilities, and facilitates communication among these residents, their case managers, and the property management team.

Gish Apartments is a groundbreaking development both for its architectural design and in its use of renewable energy technologies and other green building features. Gish is the only affordable housing development in the U.S. to receive both LEED for Homes and LEED for New Construction Gold certification."

Environmental Aspects:

"First Community Housing prefers to locate housing in transit-oriented locations with access to community resources and services, providing a healthy living environment for residents and using resources efficiently. The development of Gish Apartments was consistent with these goals. By choosing a site adjacent to light rail and reserving 35% of units for tenants with developmental disabilities, the owner earned a major parking reduction from the City. As a result, the project has a high housing density of 81 units per acre. The mixed-use design, which includes a ground floor convenience store, allows residents to purchase basic groceries on site. Other environmental aspects of the project include reuse of an urban brownfield site, a roof-top photovoltaic array, high performance insulation in 2x6 exterior walls, double-glazed windows, and high-efficiency heating and hot water systems. The initial costs associated with energy-saving features and durable materials are being offset by lower operational costs."

Resources and more info:
The American Institute of Architects
World Architecture News