Sunnyvale CA | Completed
Bounded by Highway 237, a busy temple, and low-scale residential uses, the site plan responds to and respects the existing residential, civic, and commercial context. Elements on the site are organized to promote an environment for healthy living, to cultivate a sense of community, and to maximize connection to the landscape.
The building is sited to address the proximity of the highway, which runs parallel to Persian Drive. The massing strategy and program arrangement—orienting the residential program away from the front of the building—shield the common areas and residential units from noise and pollution. The entry sequence activates community life by bringing together shared activity rooms, laundry, service programs, and an after-school center around a lively outdoor play space.
Throughout the design, the team actively balanced prioritizing energy-efficient, passive design with the realities of controlling cost in a daunting construction market. These goals converged in a commitment to achieve the first all-electric affordable housing development for both architect and owner, including the first installation in the state of a central heat pump hot water system employing Sanden heat pumps, which have a high coefficient of performance and utilize CO2 refrigerant. A 114 kW PV array covers 46% of the building’s total loads, and 100% of common loads.
With local residents opted-into a 100% renewable community choice utility, the project is among the first affordable housing projects to achieve zero net annual operating emissions. To engage residents in this goal, homes feature residential energy education monitors, devices that give real-time feedback on energy usage.
Edwina Benner Plaza is named after the first female mayor in California. Benner was mayor of Sunnyvale from 1924 to 1926 and again from 1937 to 1938.
460 Persian Drive