Santa Monica, California

The beachfront city of Santa Monica, California, with its stylishly laid-back restaurants and hotels, plus freeway access to downtown Los Angeles, may not seem the obvious place for affordable housing. And that's precisely why advocates began safeguarding its modestly priced options more than 30 years ago.

Today, one of the city's biggest residential landlords is a nonprofit affordable-housing organization: the Community Corporation of Santa Monica (CCSM), a developer-owner-manager with 1,575 units in 88 complexes, and more in the works. Founded in 1982 with a mission to preserve the area's economic and social diversity, the corporation enables service-sector workers to live near their jobs. CCSM has also emerged as a champion of local architectural talent, consistently engaging rising Santa Monica design practices to rehabilitate existing buildings or construct new ones.

One of those firms, Daly Genik Architects (DGA), recently completed its second CCSM project: 2602 Broadway, a 33,000-square-foot, $10.9 million compound with 33 rental units and ancillary community buildings. Though the four residential structures are almost identical in their L-shaped footprints, massing, neighborhood scale, and basic 'kit of parts,' the complex achieves a remarkable sense of variety, with qualities reminiscent of a forest or thicket of tall grasses.

Like most CCSM properties, the urban, 1.5-acre corner parcel was an economical choice, nearer to commercial streets than most residential developments, but with such advantages as proximity to bus and cycling routes.

DGA preserved the site's mature quinine trees and took inspiration from the dappled light, integrating into the architecture tornillo-hardwood screens that evoke a bamboo grove while doubling as balustrades for outdoor stairs and walkways.

For privacy and sustainability, the architects pushed the wood-and-steel-framed buildings to the property edges, focusing views inward to a leafy, starfish-shaped courtyard. The dynamic pinwheel arrangement 'let us offset facing windows,' explains Kevin Daly, DGA principal. 'Also, when people look out through layers of wood screen and landscape, they're more comfortable opening blinds or windows for daylight and cross-ventilation.' Natural airflow replaces air-conditioning, and translucent partitions make even inner zones luminous. Fostering privacy and openness, the public circulation minimizes the number of units passed en route to any front door.

'Green features enhance our building both environmentally and economically,' says CCSM executive director Sarah Letts, whose organization values durability and easy maintenance. 'Our savings help us keep rents low,' she points out, 'and promoting sustainable living helps tenants reduce their utility bills.'

Sustainable measures also animate the place aesthetically and experientially, most strikingly with window surrounds calibrated for solar angles. These powder-coated-aluminum boxes permit a playful array of window sizes while mitigating heat gain. Each residential building has three elevations simply clad in fiber-cement board, but the face most exposed to direct sunlight features these projections. 'Around the site, we rotated the position, or orientation, of the high-performance facade,' says Daly, explaining, in part, why the buildings feel so different from one another. This elevation also cants back, giving the massing greater complexity. Other sustainable features include green roofs and a 15,000-gallon cistern that collects stormwater for irrigation.

The complex is geared toward working families earning significantly less than the area median income. With only two- and three-bedroom units, monthly rents at 2602 Broadway range from $569 to $1,315.

'For us, these projects offer opportunities to rethink housing in general, not just affordable housing,' says Daly. 'They can become templates for small, high-performance infill development in cities everywhere.'

Completion Date: November 2012

Gross square footage: 33,225 square feet

Total construction cost: $10,900,000   

Daly Genik
1558-C Tenth Street
Santa Monica, CA  90401
t. 310 656 3180  
f. 310 656 3183


Community Corporation of Santa Monica

Daly Genik
1558-C Tenth Street
Santa Monica, CA  90401
t. 310 656 3180
f. 310 656 3183

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Kevin Daly, FAIA, Principal-in-charge, Tom Perkins, Project Manager, Kody Kellogg, Jason Pytko, Gretchen Stoecker, RA, Jared Ward, RA

Architect of record: Daly Genik (same as above)

Structural Engineer:
John Labib & Associates
900 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 936
Los Angeles, CA  90017

Mechanical Engineer & Plumbing:
17911 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 250
Irvine, CA  92614

Electrical Engineer:
FBA Engineering
3420 Irvine Avenue, Suite 200
Newport Beach, CA  92660

Civil Engineer:
Paller-Roberts Engineering
5701 Slauson Avenue, Suite 208
Culver City, CA  90230

Dry Design, Inc.
5727 Venice Blvd
Los Angeles, CA  90019

Davy + Associates
2100 N Sepulveda, Suite 42
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Owner’s Rep:
SL Leonard & Associates
3655 Torrance Blvd
Torrance, CA  90503

General contractor:
Ruiz Brothers
2181 Atlantic Blvd, Suite 101
City of Commerce, Ca  90040

Iwan Baan
Schippersgracht 7-1   
Amsterdam 1011 TR
The Netherlands 

CAD system, project management, or other software used: AutoCAD, Rhino, 3d Studio, Submittal Exchange



Structural system
The structural system for the buildings is a hybrid load bearing wood and steel frame with wood shear panels. The structural system for the walkways is a load bearing steel frame with a composite metal deck with concrete.

Exterior cladding
Cement Board – James Hardie Panel Vertical Siding cement board panels

Aluminum Window Boxes: Custom Designed by Daly Genik, manufactured by Machineous 

Rainscreen: Minerit HD Fiber Cement Board panels

Wood: Tornillo hardwood trim and balustrade elements

Moisture barrier: Dupont Tyvek commercial wrap, Dupont flexWrap NF, W.R.Grace Perm-A-Barrier

Built-up roofing: Hot rubberized Asphalt Waterproofing- Tremco Tremproof assembly, Modified Bitumen Roofing – GAF SBS Hot Mopped Roofing System

Elastomeric: Neogard pedestrian coatings

Metal frame: Punched openings – Milgard Alum. Frame, Storefront System – Arcadia AG451 series

Glass: Dual pane with Low-e coating prvided by manuf.

Metal doors: Warnock Hersey Steel Door & Frame Systems

Wood doors: Exterior doors – Therma-Tru Smooth Star Fiberglass doors, Interior doors- Masonite hardboard face doors

Fire-control doors, security grilles: Smoke door – Smoke Guard M400, Overhead coiling Grille – Lawrence Perfomance Grille PGFM, Cookson Rolling Fire door

Locksets: Schlage

Closers: Cal-Royal 300 series door closer hardware

Interior finishes
Paints and stains: Dunn Edwards

Solid surfacing: Solid Surface - Silestone

Resilient flooring: Cork Rubber flooring – Expanco XCR4, Linoleum – Forbo Marmoleum Real, Sheet Vinyl - Mannington Commercial Fine Fields

Carpet: Mohawk

Elevators/Escalators: Otis Passenger Elevator

Sinks: Elkay, Faucets: Delta, Bath: American StandardToilets – American Standard, Vanities – American Standard, Sinks –Proflow Stainless Steel, Faucets – Delta, Faucets – Kohler

Other unique products that contribute to sustainability:
Rainwater Harvesting – 15,000 g Skyharvester stormwater cistern and irrigation system