Architecture, urbanism and landscape-design firm Studio One Eleven has announced the completion of Santa Ana Arts Collective – 58 affordable homes in Santa Ana. Working with Los Angeles-based developer Meta Housing Corporation on their fifth collaboration, Studio One Eleven has adapted a 1965 office building into 100% affordable, studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom live-work lofts. The project adds 10 new affordable two- and three-bedroom townhomes. Walkable to Santa Ana’s arts institutions, Meta Housing’s development at 1666 N. Main Street includes art studio spaces, a dance studio, art gallery, two music studios and other arts-focused amenities for both residents and the public.

The project design supports the City’s mission of developing Main Street into an arts corridor, said Studio One Eleven Senior Principal Michael Bohn, AIACultural facilities in the neighborhood include The Bowers Museum, Orange County School of the Arts, The Wooden Floor Dance Company, Kidseum, and the Discovery Cube.

“Santa Ana Arts Collective brings exceptionally high-quality affordable homes to a community that will benefit from an infusion of artists and other creatives,” said Bohn. “This much-needed housing joins arts programming and transportation improvements, all integrated to further uplift the Main Street Cultural Corridor.”

Design Highlights

  • An-underperforming commercial building completed in 1965 is converted to housing.
  • Building residences have 13-foot, exposed-concrete, waffle-slab ceilings as well as polished concrete floors.
  • Loft spaces range from 512 to755 square feet.
  • Ribbon windows wrap the building on all four sides providing ample natural light for artists.
  • 10 new-construction townhomes activate Sycamore Street with front porches.
  • Because the building had underground parking, the parking requirement is reduced, eliminating the surface lot and creating room for the townhomes.
  • Ground-floor arts spaces include a gallery, art studio space, a dance studio, two music rooms and other amenities supporting artists and the neighborhood. Meta Housing will provide onsite services.
  • The existing building and new townhomes define a courtyard space open to the south that includes a children’s play area.
  • Original circular planters include heritage palm trees in the front plaza, preserved and integrated into the new design.
  • A bosque of eight orange trees in pots plus the community garden provide a wellness educational component for families.
  • Infrastructure improvements include a traffic-calming bulb-out at Sycamore and Seventeenth Street and a new bike boulevard on nearby Bush Street that connects the Arts Collective to downtown Santa Ana.
  • On-site bicycle storage joins these improvements.
Santa Ana Arts Collective artist loft, photo by Studio One Eleven

Santa Ana Arts Collective artist loft, photo by Studio One Eleven

The developer was able to secure funding from the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program (AHSC). AHSC is one of California’s largest funding sources for affordable housing, and pairs affordable housing with high-quality transportation investments to foster healthy and well-connected communities.

“This is one example of affordable housing providing community amenities that can be enjoyed by all residents,” said Bohn.

Residences range from 512 to 1,300 square feet. Affordability ranges among tenants making 30-60% AMI (Average Median Income). 10 units are dedicated to extremely low income residents. The remaining units reflect 60% AMI.

Importance of Affordable Artists Housing

“Our experience in many other cities demonstrates that arts districts can boost economic activity,” said Bohn. “By making this development 100% affordable and designated for artists, we’re helping to ensure that that as artists help improve property values, this investment does not threaten their housing security. Instead, Santa Ana Arts Collective brings high-quality housing to a creative community in great need of it.”

Studio One Eleven has partnered previously with Meta Housing Corporation on the Long Beach Senior Arts Colony and ACE 121 in Glendale – both also combining affordable housing with arts services.

Santa Ana Arts Collective community gallery, photo by Studio One Eleven

Santa Ana Arts Collective community gallery, photo by Studio One Eleven

Santa Ana Arts Collective site plan by Studio One Eleven

Santa Ana Arts Collective site plan by Studio One Eleven


Studio One Eleven is an integrated practice of architecture, urbanism and landscape design dedicated to creating vibrant communities. We believe that architects and planners play a crucial role in the making of cities and that we have a responsibility to craft our built environment in ways that support our current and future collective well-being.  Studio One Eleven finds ways to make cities more environmentally responsible, resilient, and prosperous while addressing livability and equity for all residents. For more information, visit or connect via FacebookInstagramand LinkedIn