Step Up on Fifth provides 46 studio apartments of permanent affordable housing for the developmentally disabled, as well as ground-floor retail and below-grade parking for 20 cars, in downtown Santa Monica, Calif. Designed by Los Angeles–based Brooks + Scarpa, the main eastern façade of the 30,150-square-foot structure is clad in water-jet-cut, anodized-aluminum panels that create a sun-filtering privacy screen for the apartments, as well as creating an iconic face for the building. The south façade is clad in a perforated Galvalume sunshade that protects exterior circulation paths and staircases from direct sun. The building was designed to the equivalent of LEED Gold standards and uses sustainable materials, and the team ensured that materials conservation and recycling processes were implemented during construction.
“I thought it was extremely innovative. The vertical sunshades were very creative, and I liked the use of color. I thought it was really striking. I have to say, I liked it a lot.” —Sylvia Botero
“Loved it. It was fresh and fun and had interesting brise soleils. So many projects used corrugated metal or roofs that ran over, but there was real inventiveness to how this was detailed. It was just beautifully refreshing and elegant, and I love that it is bringing a really amazing design sensibility to a population who aren’t typically patrons of architecture.” —Andre Kikoski
Project Step Up on Fifth, Santa Monica, Calif.
Client Step Up—Tod Lipka (president and CEO)
Architect Brooks + Scarpa, Los Angeles—Lawrence Scarpa, FAIA (design architect); Angela Brooks, AIA (principal-in-charge); Brad Buter, Silke Clemens, Ching Luk, Matt Majack, Luis Gomez, Omar Barcena, Dan Safarik, Gwynne Pugh, FAIA (project team)
Structural Engineer John Martin Associates—Jackie Vinkler
M/E/P Engineer IBE—Alan Locke
Environmental Consultant Helios International—John Ingersoll
Metal Fabrication Ramsey Daham
Contractor Ruiz Brothers
Landscape Landscape Scenarios
Size 31,600 square feet
Cost $11.4 million
Siding and Screening BIEC International (Galvalume) galvalume.com