Sweetwater Spectrum Community

The Sweetwater Spectrum Community is a nationally-recognized, net-zero energy model of housing for adults with autism in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Sweetwater Spectrum is a new national model for supportive housing for adults with autism, offering life with purpose and dignity. Created to address a growing national housing crisis for adults with autism, this community for sixteen residents in Sonoma, California integrates autism spectrum-specific design, universal design and sustainable design strategies.

Owner

Sweetwater Spectrum

Location

Sonoma, CA

Size

16,500 sq. ft.

Stats

PG&E ZNE Pilot Project; EUI: Designed to reduce energy use by 88%

Image Credit

Tim Griffith / Marion Brenner

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Sweetwater Spectrum is a nonprofit organization founded in 2009 by families, autism professionals, and community leaders to provide appropriate, high-quality housing for adults with autism, maximizing residents’ individual development and independence. Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States, affecting 1 in 68 children. In the coming decade, as many as 500,000 children with autism will reach adulthood, yet few residential options exist for them. Sweetwater Spectrum is an innovative new model that can be replicated nationwide to help solve this impending housing crisis.

The project includes four homes, a community center, therapy pools and urban farm. Autism-specific design strategies promote serene, legible spaces that create a safe nurturing environment. Practical sustainable design strategies promote health and wellness, reduce energy consumption, and offer multiple long-term benefits to residents, staff and the Sonoma community. The project is a Pacific Gas & Electric Zero Net Energy Pilot Project and exceeds the 2030 Commitment.

Awards
AIA National - Committee on the Environment, Top Ten Green Project
AIA National, Housing Award
ASLA National Professional Award
British Broadcasting Company (BBC), Ten Most Stunning Designs of 2013
AIA California Council, Honor Award for Sustainability
AIA California Council, Merit Award
ASLA NCC, General
AIA San Francisco, Citation Award
AIA Redwood Empire, Citation Award, Built Project
The Sweetwater Spectrum Community is a nationally-recognized, net-zero energy model of housing for adults with autism in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“Sweetwater Spectrum hopes to become a model for like-minded experiments across the country.”

The New York Times

The Sweetwater Spectrum Community is a nationally-recognized, net-zero energy model of housing for adults with autism in the San Francisco Bay Area.
with
Chris May, Claudia Merzario