Eco Oaks Apartments
Tampa, FL
13,200 SF

Completed November of 2011, this 18 unit affordable apartment complex is composed of 3 buildings and was publicly funded with Neighborhood Stabilization (NSP) monies intended for purchase of foreclosed properties. It was designed for a local social service agency that operates programs for women - specifically women veterans - and their families.

Scope includes renovating an existing 2200 s.f. 1-story building that became (2) 1-bedroom apartments (one is fully accessible, one is for a live-in site manager) and public laundry and living areas, and construction of (2) new 2-story 5500 s.f. buildings with 8 apartments each, combining 1- bedroom (485 s.f.) units and 2-bedroom (700 s.f.) units.

The u-shaped organization of the 3 buildings creates an interior courtyard space, making a safe place for children and residents to socialize. Each apartment opens into this courtyard, creating a sense of local community within the larger surrounding neighborhood. Design goals were to create light-filled, contemporary spaces with sustainable low-maintenance materials, which pointedly do NOT evoke traditional images of affordable housing.

The apartments are certified LEED Platinum by the GBCI, making them the first Platinum multi-family new construction in Florida. To achieve this goal, the butterfly roof design channels rainwater into (6) 750-gallon stainless steel cisterns located in the retention/rain garden area. This water is used for irrigating the landscaping (all Florida native species) meaning ZERO use of potable water for this purpose. Additionally, natural gas tankless water heaters are installed in each apartment and photovoltaic solar panels are installed on the roofs, which feed electric power both to individual apartments and the larger city grid via meters in each unit. These design innovations combine with traditional construction (CMU walls, steel columns, pre-engineered framing systems) and increased insulation values in the building envelope making the apartments more affordable for residents and a net zero energy use facility.