Southlawn Palms Apartments is an existing 11.5-acre, 51-building, 243-unit low-income multifamily housing development built in 1980 and located in the Third Ward of Houston. Consisting of a site devoid of trees or much vegetation, the one-story buildings are arranged in an almost militaristic fashion of block-like rows.
Our re-design involves a series of strategic interventions on the existing complex to enhance the quality of life and censorial experience of the spaces, both on the exterior and interior, for the residents of the development. The interventions are organized around a large-scale maneuver of painted color bands that crisscross the site and orient towards major landmarks around Houston. The color bands, are applied to all surfaces of the buildings, from roof to soffit to siding to groundscapes to enliven the exterior spaces and streetscapes.
A large edible garden surrounded by orange and lemon tree plazas (in the site of a former building that burned down) will function to not only provide inhabitants with food, but also to encourage a sense of regular community involvement. Two earth mounds with playscapes (in the other site of a former building that burned down) function as playful aberrations to the flat topographic nature of Houston, while providing an amenity for children to play. The earth mounds also provide a vantage point from which inhabitants can potentially discern the larger gesture of the color bands shooting off towards Houston landmarks. Promenade-like buffers between the street and buildings function to further enhance the streetscape and curb-appeal of the development.