READ THE BLOG affordable housing design winners 2013
Designer | Ulla Lange
Graphic Designer | Brandy LeMae
Landscape Architect | Emmanuel Didier, Didier Design Studio
Developers | Tierra Del Sol Housing Corporation & Thomas Development Group
Buildings at CROSS\TOWN station are single loaded to provide ventilation and light through the units. Unit plans are comprised of simple, elemental volumes—one for living spaces and one for sleeping and bathing spaces—that are shifted and interlocked in various ways to create one-, two- and three bedroom units. Each unit has a deep alcove off the circulation system to create a “front porch”. On the street side of the buildings the shifting results in an equal and opposite deep recess. Windows are placed within these recesses to take advantage of more favorable sun shading conditions that reduce solar gain within the units.
The projecting volumes of the plan are clad in corrugated metal. Because window placement is in the sides of the projection rather than the outward face the blank metal clad walls of these volumes recall the appearance of the industrial context. Exterior walls at the back of the recesses are clad in stucco in rich deep colors providing a softness that contrasts with the tough outer shell of metal.
CROSS\TOWN station will be occupied by individuals and families. The affordable units will have a set-aside for veterans through HUD’s VASH voucher plan. Veterans like to be together and support each other. In recognition of this, the project provides a veterans community room. It will be furnished with a pool table, tables and chairs, a television and other amenities. The room is on the second level—above the main community space—and has windows that allow it to survey both the main courtyard of the complex, the city park across the street and the primary vehicular and pedestrian access points. This allows the veterans to see without being seen—to feel secure without feeling exposed.
The market rate units are targeted toward young people in the arts. Some of the large industrial buildings nearby have become home to performing and visual arts groups. The location and somewhat edgy industrial look of CROSS\TOWN station will appeal to this market segment.
The project team held a design charrette open to all stakeholders—including the community at large—and three community meetings targeted primarily to residents of surrounding neighborhoods but open to the community at large as well. The design team listened to community input and incorporated several comments into the concepts for the project. One idea put forth by the community was to adopt the historic southwestern mission town pattern of a central civic plaza—as in the nearby town of Mesilla. A park recalling this vernacular pattern has become the central thematic space of the new neighborhood.
W8 took on this project because of our commitment to provide quality housing for those who need a hand up and support veterans. There is a strong alignment between the sustainable components of the project—urban infill, transit oriented, LEED Gold—and our values.
The CROSS\TOWN Station logo was developed for a new affordable housing project in Las Cruces, NM. The site plan included keeping the existing vintage water tower and the logo references this iconic structure.
The community of Las Cruces has grown and flourished within an environment of distinct landscapes. Inspired by this unique sense of place, we choose to foster a strong sense of community for CROSS \ TOWN station residents. Our framework echoes the abundance and diversity of the regional landscape with four distinct landscape zones. By taking advantage of the buildings’ layout, the heart of the site provides a protected courtyard. Under the shade of tall trees, tenants will enjoy high quality outdoor environments with opportunities for social interaction. At the intersection of the agricultural gardens and the sculptural xeric gardens, flowering shrubs, trees and perennials will enhance places to socialize, for children to play, and for the community to flourish.
Children are at the heart of any community—they love to explore and play outdoors, benefiting physically and mentally from being outdoors. A sand play area is nestled within the courtyard for toddlers. A sunken turf area is integrated into the most shaded area of the courtyard. In this hot climate, the courtyard will provide an inviting destination for all ages; to play, or to rest. Sidewalks and paths within the courtyard offer multiple routes for a stroll, or a place for young children to ride small scooters or bicycles. Outside the courtyard itself, a play area is provided within safe proximity of living units. It includes a swing set, a climbing structure and a slide.
By designing diverse outdoor spaces, we are providing numerous opportunities for multiple age groups—from toddlers to seniors and everyone in between. As such, we believe our plan offers both aspects of a beautiful environment and a safe, engaging place for children and adults to play and rest.