Sustainability Reigns Supreme at Step Up in Santa Monica


The new structure was built on a narrow infill site in downtown Santa Monica.

Organization: Step Up On Second, which provides psychosocial rehabilitation, support and permanent supportive housing to people affected by severe and persistent mental illness.

Population Served: The new structure provides 46 studio apartments of permanent affordable housing, support services and rehabilitation for the homeless and mentally disabled population.

Architect: Pugh + Scarpa 

Design highlights: The architects designed custom water-jet-anodized aluminum panels on the main façade in order to provide privacy, shade and visual articulation, while an E-shaped building footprint creates two, second-story private courtyards creating outdoor space and letting natural light filter into the units. Generous community rooms located on every other floor offer places for the residents to socialize, cook meals and hold events. The building exceeded state-mandated energy efficiency measures (Title 24 energy) by more than 30%: Sustainable elements include carpets with a high-recycled content, dual-flush toilets, passive solar design and a hydronic heating system.


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