The Beacon

Located at along a busy thoroughfare and adjacent to public transit, the project serves as a refuge for a vulnerable homeless population.  The City envisioned the project site as a gateway into downtown Long Beach, and therefore desired a prominent architectural landmark at the street corner.  Consistent with its dedication to housing veterans and low-income families, the project owner, Century, envisioned a community that will serve as a safe harbor for future residents, enabling them to set personal anchors to restore wellness and hope.  Similar to a beacon, or lighthouse, that provides guidance to safe harbor, the open corner tower welcomes travelers.  The project provides 39 units for homeless veterans and 121 units for low-income seniors.  Additional program includes a plaza at the tower that connects to the lobby, a community room, fitness room, and social services.  A clubhouse in the courtyard opens to an outdoor lounge, BBQ area and spa.  The building’s design responds to its immediate context, Long Beach Blvd.  As the daily tide of commuters and transit flows in and out of the city, the building’s appearance responds to the direction of travel:  the balconies are open on one side and closed on the other.  Upon arrival to the city from the north, visitors see a solid façade with a prominent tower, and when they depart the city from the south, they see a more porous building that reveals the residents within.  Inspired by the beacon concept, the landscape design acts as the grounding shoreline.  Along the street, a curvy planted edge mimics watermarks left by waves rolling up the beach.  The courtyard landscape design recalls the form and flow of a water droplet.  The curves of undulating pathways, tear-shaped rooms, planters and platform benches provide a counterpoint to the rectilinear architecture.  Sculptural, evergreen Torrey Pines shade benches integrated into the planter walls and smaller-scaled desert willows burst into pink blooms each spring.

Client:              Century Affordable Development
Landscape Architect:  Mia Lehrer and Associates
Location:         1235 Long Beach Blvd. Long Beach CA 90813
Units:               160 (121 units Senior Affordable, 39 units homeless vets and special needs)
Size:                 238,500 SF
Status:             In Construction