The Beacon

The city of Long Beach has pledged to increase affordable housing units to mitigate displacement due to high rents. Building upon the success of housing veterans and low-income families at Villages at Cabrillo campus, Century envisions a community at the gateway to downtown Long Beach that will become the safe harbor for future residents where personal anchors may be set to restore wellness and hope. The concept of ‘The Beacon’ is a guiding light illuminating a path to a safe harbor. As the daily tide of commuters and transit flows in and out of Long Beach, the buildings appearance responds to the direction of travel. The balconies are open on one side and closed on the other, so upon arrival visitors see solid façade with a prominent tower, but when they depart, they’ll see a more porous, more open building that reveals the residents within.

Inspired by the Beacon’s architectural metaphor as lighthouse, the landscape design acts as the grounding shoreline. Along Long Beach Blvd, a curvy planted edge mimics watermarks left by waves rolling up the beach. The courtyard landscape design plays off the flow and form of a water droplet. The curves of undulating pathways and tear-shaped rooms, planters and platform benches provide a soft counterpoint to Beacon’s rectilinear architecture. Sculptural evergreen Torrey Pines shade benches integrated into the planter walls, and smaller-scaled desert willows will 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 vets and special needs)
Size:                 238,500 SF
Status:             In Construction