Laguna Beach Community and Susi-Q Senior Center

Laguna Beach, California

A community center blends into a coastal neighborhood

The design of the Laguna Beach Community and Susi-Q Senior Center fits its neighborhood, where a business district meets a residential area. Configured in an “E” shape, the main wing is anchored into the steep topography at the back of site, creating a backdrop for three smaller wings that project toward the street and shape an outdoor plaza.

The design was the result of a lengthy public input process, involving a wide variety of stakeholders and engaged neighborhood advocates. The project includes a 13,000-square-foot senior center and 8,000-square-foot community center over subterranean parking. To address the pedestrian-oriented frontage on Third Street, LPA designed three cottage-size structures that each open onto an outdoor space. These rooms include a quiet gathering area for seniors, a breakout space from the city conference room and a terrace extension for the art studio; all three areas combine into one large space for community gatherings.

The center’s aesthetics reflect the texture, scale and historic charm of Laguna Beach. Buildings feature synthetic wood siding, aluminum-clad operable windows, exposed wood overhangs and copper gutters. Courtyard amenities include raised planters, wood trellises, enhanced paving, seating areas and a large turf area within the central terrace.

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