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May 24, 2019

The Vision Takes Shape in the Desert

Eric Naslund

Washington Street Apartments is a combination of redesigned units from the 1970’s with additions for newly constructed units and common buildings. All of this is stitched together in a redesigned site that links the neighborhood together in a socially cohesive manner. The residents of the remade units will move in within the next 6 weeks while the rest of the site takes shape into 2019. Designed for the City of La Quinta, the project is now being carried to fruition by Coachella Valley Housing Coalition (CVHC), the desert’s pre-eminent affordable housing proponent, developer and owner.

As the first buildings come close to completion and the new buildings get framed, one can begin to see the underlying intentions of a desert appropriate architecture inspired by a climatic response with an acknowledgement of the wisdom of the native population that has inhabited this valley for centuries. This population used a delicate tent-like structure with deep shade and cross ventilation. Here, we extend roofs out far beyond the enclosing walls and center them on thermal chimneys to expel warm air. Under these deeply shaded roofs are patios and gathering spaces that align on connecting paseos and courtyards to encourage connection and communication.

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