This project presents a unique opportunity to repurpose a military site of historic significance for the use of today’s veterans. The adaptive reuse of this former Army base Officer’s Club building as an independent living community for disabled veterans is an appropriate manner to pay homage to this neighborhood’s military history and our brave veterans. The Army base, located in the Arlanza neighborhood of Riverside, CA, was a troop staging camp during World War II. Between 1942 and 1946 over 625,000 soldiers spent their last 10 days here before being shipped off to battle overseas.
The Officer’s Club was a favorite venue on base, hosting dances and entertainers the likes of Bob Hope and Lena Horne. The neighborhood grew along with the base. Many civilians were employed at the mess halls, post office, laundry and chapel. Upon decommissioning of the base, barracks were repurposed as single-family homes and small shops. Some buildings remained intact such as the laundry, chapel, and Officer’s Club, which served as a Moose Lodge for many years.
The Officer’s Club is aptly designated as the community center for this housing development and is consequently restored as a landmark for this community. The new design makes the connection to the site’s historic military past and respects the neighborhood’s character. The Club’s building exterior shall be restored to reflect its original finishes and architectural details such as wood siding and generous eaveoverhangs. The housing is low-scaled with simple forms reminiscent of military housing. Floor plan designs provide strong connections to the outdoors as extension of the living space. Accessibility features incorporated throughout allow disabled veterans to take full advantage of all indoor and outdoor amenities, including the therapeutic rehabilitation pool at the central courtyard.
The development also embraces sustainable technologies, employing solar panels, and energy- and water-conserving features to achieve a LEED Silver or 100 Green Point rating. Close attention is paid to the community’s historic architectural heritage to create a sustainable project that uniquely belongs in Arlanza. Most importantly, this project will serve as a tool to support the lives of our brave veterans and their families.
Wakeland Housing & Development Corp.
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