Janet L. Witkin Center
West Hollywood, CA
|Affordable Living for the Aging
||16,330 SF, 17 Units
The Janet L. Witkin Center is Affordable Living for the Aging’s (ALA) newest affordable senior housing development and is located at 937 N. Fairfax Avenue, the site of ALA’s former staff offices in West Hollywood. Named after ALA’s founder, the Center was largely funded by the County of Los Angeles, the City of West Hollywood, private donors, and ALA. The Center will help low-income and formerly homeless seniors age in place while coping with the challenges of increased frailty.
The challenge of incorporating critical community spaces on a small site necessitated finding unique opportunities for social gathering throughout the project. A large central community room was designed on the ground floor to open up in to the central, south-facing courtyard and create a light and airy space. An expanded walkway serves as a gathering place near the communal laundry rooms at each floor and affords an overlook to the tenant courtyard below.
Universally designed spaces support all residents regardless of ability, strength or physical function. Features in the Center’s private and communal spaces support seniors’ ability to age in place and remain independent. These include accessible kitchens and bathrooms that include cabinetry with high toe kicks, roll-in showers, easy to use fixtures and appliances, additional lighting to illuminate pathways, wider entryways to assist with accident and fall prevention, and dimmable nightlights in each bedroom.
A “front porch” patio adjacent to the sidewalk gives the building a direct connection to the streetscape. The apartments are laid out in two groups, and the unit entries are clustered to promote resident awareness and interaction with immediate neighbors. Unique accent colors and materials at different floors assist in creating recognizable visual and tactile cues that assist with orientation. A community garden and patio on the roof deck provides a more private area for social interaction and gives residents the opportunity to grow their own herbs and food.
This project is LEED Platinum Certified.