A little more than two years after the City of West Hollywood’s Planning Commission approved a plan to build affordable housing for low-income seniors at 937 N. Fairfax Ave., groundbreaking ceremonies were held on the site Friday for a four-story, 17-unit, mixed-use rental complex.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Councilman Paul Koretz and West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang presided over the groundbreaking of the Janet L. Witkin Center, named after a West Hollywood senior living advocate. The property is owned by Alternative Living for the Aging, a nonprofit agency that develops senior housing and provides free housing counseling for seniors.
“This is a building to be proud of in every way,” Supervisor Yaroslavsky was quoted as saying in a statement. “With a striking and attractive exterior design, warm and welcoming interior elements for the residents' comfort and safety, and energy- and resource-efficient construction, the future of affordable senior housing stands before us.”
Designed by Killlefer Flammang Architects and built to Gold LEED standards, the project revolves around a contemporary building wrapped horizontally in composite wood and vertically in metal panels facing a courtyard with an open walkway.
The upcoming center will have south-facing, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units that will receive plenty of natural light, according to KFA design principal Wade Killefer.
The building includes two community rooms, administrative support offices, a rooftop community garden and a string of environmentally sustainable features such as storm water filtration, an efficient heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system and recycled building materials.
Because integrating the center with the community is a vital part of the project, a front-porch patio will be directly linked to the street. Bedroom interiors include such features as roll-in showers equipped with grab-bars, not to mention seats and sliding pocket doors designed to be barrier-free.
“Way-finding”—a major concern for the elderly—is another novel feature of the project. “This was accomplished through use of unique accent colors and materials on different floors, thereby providing recognizable visual and tactile cues to assist in orientation,” KFA project manager Lise Bornstein said.