Pico Place is a 32-unit LEED Platinum affordable apartment building of 2 and 3-bedroom family units with a common laundry room and community room (min of 1,000 sf of common space not including laundry). All units have a dishwasher adjacent to the kitchen sink. The site will have bike racks for the tenants, a common mailbox area and a trash chute on all floors so that refuse and recycled materials will be collected in the subterranean garage, away from the common space of the main courtyard. The project will meet the city of Santa Monica’s requirements for urban storm water runoff and green building materials and efficiency. The project provides a connection between the tall Sheraton Delfina hotel to the east and the 2-story stucco building to the west by placing the building volume on each side of the property and ‘opening’ up the project’s center to create an enclosed, residential interior courtyard. Strips of fabric above the courtyard help to filter sunlight while also providing a variation in material and a sense of place. By placing a one-story community room along Pico Blvd., and creating a ‘frame’ that unifies the project, the interior courtyard can be seen from the street, while also remaining semi-private. This allows courtyard activity to spill out to Pico Blvd., provides a pedestrian connection to Pico Blvd and protects the residential properties across the alley from the courtyard noise and activity. Sustainability is an important component of the design; shading, natural light and ventilation along with proper building orientation have been incorporated into the design. Pedestrian-oriented design will be incorporated into the façade of the building along Pico and the community room, and a small green roof is positioned to take advantage of and contribute to the pedestrian nature of the street. The major exterior material is siding in different colors and textures, creating an elegant façade that is contextual and varied and complements the surrounding buildings and uses. The parking is accessed from the rear alley, and drought tolerant/native landscaping will be used to provide a rich living environment for the people that will live here and provide a transition from the busy commercial area immediately to the west, to the residential district to the south and east.
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