Lubertha Johnson Estates is a low incoming housing development for the elderly designed by PSC Architects located in Las Vegas, Nevada. The innovations of this 101,100 s.f. project were initially set in motion by the client’s own tentative change in attitude toward the potential a low-income housing project could have. The idea is simple: think about the future of the project as potentially marketable to other, less impoverished demographics. This meant emphasizing a high quality of living as seen through commercial market standards, not simply meeting a meager bottom line. A critical element of this was to address the site beyond the building, since connecting one’s inner life to the world is essential to staying active, healthy, and happy. Spaces between apartments and between neighboring communities began looking less like dreadful leftovers from pesky setbacks and more as a promising oasis of activity. In tandem with higher standards of living, HUD’s push to meet or exceed their own requirements for sustainability led to a project of holistic excellence at a humane budget.
Aiming for potential marketability to higher income demographics equated to pioneering an incredibly efficient way of pulling as much beauty, poetry, and function from a lean government budget. We tackled this problem in two parts: pragmatically, mapping out circulation and amenities meticulously for universal enjoyment, and poetically, crafting the physical environment with particular attention to the needs of an aging but independent community.