Brooks + Scarpa’s Rosa Gardens

Photo by John Linden
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Photo by John Linden
Slide 1
Photo by John Linden
Photo by John Linden
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Slide 1

On Rosa Parks Road in Palm Springs, the firm has created an affordable housing complex that seamlessly blends in with the desert landscape.

At the heart of the 57-unit apartment building is a passive solar design strategy. Given the project’s location in the dry and blistering heat of the Coachella Valley, controlling the interior temperature was a priority. Brooks + Scarpa positioned the building to harness solar cooling loads and maximize exposure to prevailing winds. To boost the interior’s comfort and energy-efficiency, the firm integrated shading onto the south-facing windows and kept the west side minimally glazed.

Situated at the base of the valley, the low-slung complex offers  unobstructed views of the desert from patios and balconies. While its subtle material palette reflects the landscape, it also exemplifies the firm’s innovation in eco-materials. The building’s metal skin is locally fabricated from used aluminum cans. This eco-sensitivity is carried through to the interiors, which are insulated with recyled newspapers, equipped with water-saving dual flush toilets and outfitted in recycled-content carpet and all-natural linoleum flooring.

And then there are the amenities: a shared courtyard, bicycle racks and a swimming pool that will be heated by a rooftop hydronic solar panel. It’s no surprise that the building surpasses California’s mandated energy measures – the strictest in the U.S. – by over 30 per cent.

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