Brunson Terrace social housing net zero Los Angeles Brooks+Scarpa
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Brunson Terrace: net-zero affordable housing in the heart of Santa Monica

This fully electric apartment complex at 1819 Pico Boulevard is built around an interior courtyard that helps build a sense of community


Brunson Terrace social housing net zero Los Angeles Brooks+Scarpa
By Editorial Staff -

In Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, Brooks + Scarpa have created Brunson Terrace, a totally electric net-zero affordable housing project with LEED Platinum certification. Located at 1819 Pico Boulevard, the project stands out for its exceptional pEUI of 6.6, making it over eight times more energy efficient than typical similar buildings (around 59 pEUI).

Brunson Terrace, situated opposite Santa Monica College, is an articulated structure of volumes of various heights and sizes that create an intriguing visual game. The external façades, characterized by neutral colors, feature asymmetrically placed windows that give a dynamism and uniqueness to the building as a whole.

Brunson Terrace (1819 Pico) - Brooks+Scarpa Copyright and courtesy Brooks+Scarpa


>>> Read a preview of our article about the multipurpose Field House pavilion by Brooks + Scarpa in Pompano Beach, Florida


Brunson Terrace: a community space

At ground level, Brunson Terrace has 622 m2 of retail spaces, a laundry, and a community room, while the upper levels host 49 residential units. The complex also comprises a large public courtyard. Intended to emphasize social over private space and providing access to all the apartments via a system of ramps and stairs, the courtyard was conceived as a meeting place between the homes and the street outside, offering residents a shared area that’s also private and safe.

The courtyard includes a children’s play area with wooden structures and colored ground surfacing with geometric designs. Curving flowerbeds with trees and plants have been included to bring nature into this shared space. Resident privacy is increased by the apartments being oriented towards partially separated social spaces. The apartments themselves have timber floors and furnishings. These combine with white walls to create an elegant, clean appearance.

Brunson Terrace (1819 Pico) - Brooks+Scarpa Copyright and courtesy Brooks+Scarpa


Courtyard apartments in southern California

Courtyard apartments have a long tradition in southern California, ranging from Irving Gill’s 1928 Horatio Court to the classic post-World War II Spanish Colonial Revival Ambrose Gardens.

Many of the apartments built during this period, especially in Hollywood and West Hollywood, were part of an architectural movement that aimed to enhance local architecture and promote a sense of community and neighborhood. Residential complexes with a courtyard offer residents a sense of belonging. They’re an urbane housing type that integrates well into neighborhoods – a vision that’s perfectly aligned with the approach taken by Brooks + Scarpa on this project.


>>> In 2022 Angela Brooks and Lawrence Scarpa won the AIA Gold Medal


Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Area: 4850 m2
Architect: Brooks + Scarpa 

Structures: Labib Funk Engineering
MEP: Idiaz Design
Civil: Labib Funk Engineering
Landscape: Tina Chee with Brooks + Scarpa
Solar Consultant: CalSolar
LEED: Alternate Energy Systems

Photography by and courtesy of Brooks + Scarpa


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