Villa Esperanza

Villa Esperanza, a 28-unit HUD-financed residential complex, serves the special needs of independently living adults with varying degrees of mental retardation. The one-story buildings are arranged to create a central landscaped commons. A community room opens to a large terrace next to the commons. The interior courtyards include a layering of private, semi-private, and common open spaces. The design was conceived with the intent to nurture and help the residents grow.

As the client requested in community-outreach meetings, special landscape features are provided for the residents. A variety of colored and textured pathways lead the residents through the gardens to the units, and help distinguish the different areas as a tactile way-finding tool. A very simple maze of lawn and hedges is used for hide-and-seek and self-invented play. Individual garden plots are provided within the common gardens near the entry to each unit. A shaded front stoop at each unit overlooks the fragrant and textured garden commons.

The site is set on a slight rise between two streams, and the restored native riparian woodlands are extend through the site, linking the development to its landscape setting and providing much-needed shade. The street frontage reflects the city’s landscape requirements as well as the urban design of the adjacent subdivision.

Gilroy, CA

1-1/4 acre

South County Housing

Architect: Herman & Coliver Architecture

Special Needs Housing and Campus