Open Doors

Location

Los Gatos , CA
United States
37° 14' 8.9088" N, 121° 57' 44.55" W
California US

Open Doors is the first housing in Los Gatos designed for families with low incomes. Most of the residents work at the nearby hospital and many have young children. Architect Richard Olmsted designed two- and three-story buildings as stacked flats and townhouses over flats in a pinwheel plan that creates a variety of building elevations and setbacks. Different colors highlight separate identities for units in a building cluster. "The housing feels like a village of attached houses rather than a monolithic apartment building," commented Olmsted. Although the apartments have front patios, they do not have private rear yards because they are back-to-back. The clusters are sited around a shared courtyard with a large lawn and a play structure.
 
The San Juan Bautista Child Development Center of San Jose leases the childcare center for about 36 children from both the wider community and Open Doors. Computer and art classes are also held at the center. The success of Open Doors was difficult to sell to the neighborhood in advance. When the housing was introduced to the neighborhood, strong opposition, including a lawsuit, reduced the unit count from 68 to 64, and added 24 parking spaces. However, supported by the Town of Los Gatos, the development went forward after some delay. The residents, many of whom had been living in the area in overcrowded and expensive housing, value the stability to build their lives and the security for their children.

Green Features: 
Dwelling Type: 
Eight-Plex/Walk
Number of Units: 
64
State: 
CALIFORNIA