KFA and Leong Leong’s complex for low-income LGBTQ seniors expands a campus in Los Angeles

The Golden Years, No Fear

KFA and Leong Leong’s complex for low-income LGBTQ seniors expands a campus in Los Angeles

Located in East Hollywood, the Ariadne Getty Senior Housing Complex is part of a larger campus dedicated to providing a range of services to the LGBTQ community. (Jim Simmons)

Los Angeles-based Killefer Flammang Architects (KFA) and New York-based Leong Leong have completed the Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing Complex, a five-story complex dedicated to providing safe and supportive housing to low-income LGBTQ Angelenos over the age of 62. Offering a mix of 98 apartments including 19 studios, 75 one-bedrooms, and four two-bedroom units, the 70,300-square-foot complex is located directly adjacent to the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s 2-acre Anita May Rosenstein Campus in East Hollywood.

The first phase of the $141 million Anita May Rosenstein Campus project, a multifaceted 183,000-square-foot community hub, was completed in 2019. Described as the world’s first intergenerational facility for the LGBTQ community’s two most vulnerable population groups, youth and seniors, it includes a senior resource center, youth academy, retail spaces, flexible event spaces, admin offices, and more. The project is a collaboration of design architects Leong Leong and KFA, with KFA as executive architect.

“The architecture proactively interfaces with the city, while serving as a sanctuary for diversity,” said Dominic Leong, cofounding partner of Leong Leong, when the facility opened in 2019. “A series of internal courtyards create spaces of refuge within, while a new public plaza invites the community and the city to connect. The architecture is a mosaic of identities and programs rather than a singular iconic gesture.”

entrance to a white-stucco housing complex with a Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing sign
(Jim Simmons)

In early 2020, construction commenced on the housing-focused second phase of the project, one made possible thanks to a $2.5 million gift from by the Ariadne Getty Foundation (AGF). Also recently completed on the campus is a 26-unit Youth Housing complex located across the street from the Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing building.

“The lack of affordable housing in this country is at an all-time high and presents even greater hardships for the LGBTQ community given the many biases which continue to exist. It’s an even greater problem amongst LGBTQ seniors,” said Ariadne Getty, president and executive director of the foundation, in a statement. (PBS NewsHour recently ran an in-depth segment on the housing challenges faced by many older LGBTQ individuals, and it’s worth a watch particularly today, October 11, which marks National Coming Out Day.)

“In response, the Ariadne Getty Foundation has recognized these challenges and, in an effort to also help LGBTQ elders facing social isolation, family rejection, or discrimination in traditional senior housing, the AGF has donated $2.5 million to the Los Angeles LGBT Center to build the Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing,” Getty continued. “The goal of the gift has a two-fold purpose. The first, and most important, is that we provide housing for LGBTQ seniors. And, the second, is the AGF inspires others to donate to care for the elderly LGBTQ community who have faced so many obstacles and discrimination yet have gotten us to where we are today.”

a function room in a senior housing complex
(Jim Simmons)

There are an estimated 2.4 million adults over the age of 50 who identify as LGTBQ living in the United States.

The completed housing complex is a gently curving, white stucco-clad volume that provides visual contrast to the boxy intergenerational community hub anchoring the Anita May Rosenstein Campus at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and North McCadden Place.

The building’s first floor includes a spacious lobby area looking out into a central courtyard, a mailroom, TV area and computer lounge, kitchen-equipped community room, fitness space, and a large laundry room that also opens out into the courtyard, which itself features a barbecue area and ample seating for functions both formal and informal. Equipped with inset private balconies and oversized windows, each unit is fully wheelchair-accessible and includes universal design features such as bathroom grab bars.

a curved housing complex illuminated at night
(Jim Simmons)

“These light-filled units and abundant on-site amenities will provide an uplifting, safe environment, and will enrich the lives of many vulnerable seniors,” added KFA Architecture Partner Barbara Flammang.

As for the cost of living at the Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing building, monthly rents do not exceed $1,175; qualifying members of the LGBTQ community of a certain age can secure a lease through a lottery system. Twenty-six of the 98 units are earmarked for individuals who have experienced chronic homelessness. The rents of those units will be fully covered by city- and county-provided grants.

view down into a courtyard from an apartment balcony
(Jim Simmons)

The full wealth of programs and services offered by the Los Angeles LGBT Center including case management, employment training, HIV and wellness programs, meal services, and a range of enriching activities, are available to all residents of Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing. The main Senior Center located within the adjacent community building, with its large dining room, activity spaces, and counseling offices, is also easily accessible to residents.

Ariadne Getty Foundation Senior Housing was developed by Thomas Safran & Associates, an L.A.-based affordable housing developer and property management company.