At Ross Recreation, we’re often reminded of our company mission: building and enriching our communities. This week, I had a personal tour of a special project in Alameda, CA that we were fortunate enough to have been involved with four years ago called Shinsei Gardens, an affordable housing community that houses a large number of our military veterans, some of whom had been homeless. That seemed fitting to me because the land that Shinsei Gardens now occupies was formerly part of the historic Alameda Naval Shipyard.
Shinsei Gardens is a unique and beautiful community with a Pan Pacific flare and architectural theme. Through careful design by architect Erick Mikiten of Mikiten Architecture and landscape architect Charles McCulloch, the project was able to achieve a rare and coveted LEED Platinum certification for environmental sustainability, the highest rating possible for green construction. The project was funded by Resources for Community Development, an affordable housing developer in Berkeley.
This week, on a clear autumn afternoon, Chuck McCulloch was kind enough to tour me through Shinsei Gardens and show me the landscape and building features that collectively allowed the project to earn a Platinum rating. I was proud of how the Landscape Structures Evos playstructure that Ross helped design fit harmoniously into the open space plan. Chuck had included features into the central courtyard, including the Children’s play area, that provided a high level of inclusiveness for children – and adults – of all abilities, as well as fun, organic things like natural, weathered basalt columns that were placed on the no-mow grass berm for play and natural seating.
Who says affordable housing has to be institutional and dull? Thanks Chuck!
By Ewing Philbin