KDA Little Berkeley Project


Kevin Daly Architects (KDA) Wins 2019 Progressive Architecture Award for Little Berkeley Affordable Housing Project in Santa Monica

Congratulations to faculty member Kevin Daly, whose firm Kevin Daly Architects was awarded a 2019 Progressive Architecture Award for their work on Little Berkeley in Santa Monica, California. Special shout out to Ciro Dimson, an AUD alum from the class of 2015 who was part of the project team. 

Out of nearly 200 unbuilt submissions, this year’s jury— comprised of Paul Andersen, J. Frano Violich, and Claire Weisz—selected 10 winners that showcase innovative design from established heavyweights and fresh new perspectives. Hailing from different regions and exploring varied typologies and scales, the winning projects demonstrate how architects taking thoughtful design risks can yield progressive and unexpected environments.

"Affordable housing takes a new, distinctly Californian turn with Little Berkeley, an ingenious bit of civic-minded design from inveterate Angeleno firm Kevin Daly Architects. With an eye toward the improvisatory urbanism of the region’s beachfront cities, the team has created a neighborhood in miniature comprising eight units, each in a discrete volume, and all spread out on a single block wedged between a commercial corridor and a residential zone.

Staggered through the site, the buildings meet each other at odd angles, with open space weaving between; though sitting at street level, each features an elevated terrace, creating a complex topography that is made more engaging by the shifting layout of the planters and hedges in the semi-public landscaping between them. While ensuring individual privacy and security (both identified as high priorities by prospective end users) the whole complex features a number of shared facilities, including living rooms and kitchens. These communal elements are imperative given the social objective of the brief: to provide housing for former foster children making the tough transition to living on their own.

In a city suffering a painful housing crunch, the design realized economies by using prefabricated construction and off-the-shelf materials, without becoming reductive or unaesthetic. Indeed, the garden trellises, wide windows, and village-like arrangement of the units give the complex the feeling of a gracious oceanside community with scarcely a trace of institutionalism. This is good news for both the occupants and their Santa Monica neighbors, sapping NIMBY-ish sentiment while providing a supportive atmosphere that will feel like home the instant residents arrive. Unusual for social housing, the project can even claim a high-end pedigree: Its casual cool and informal formalism recall the early work of local heavy hitters like Frank Gehry, FAIA, and Eric Owen Moss, FAIA."

More info at Architect Magazine: https://www.architectmagazine.com/awards/p-a-awards/the-winners-of-the-66th-annual-progressive-architecture-awards_o