“During my time as a Rose Fellow I have learned how challenging it is to develop decent, well designed, and healthy housing for people with limited income. Before the fellowship I had only experienced the design-related aspects of a development, but working with LINC Housing has been a privileged time, allowing me to be ‘the owner’ and work towards the triple bottom line of ecology, equity and economy.”
When Jose Noel Toro recounts the major accomplishments of his fellowship, helping to change the culture of LINC Housing tops his list. He explains, “LINC has begun to adopt green building practices as the standard. It has established green housing as the only viable way of building in the future, for the benefit of our residents, as well as for the wellbeing of our planet.”
One result is the Tahquitz Court Apartments in Palm Springs. Funded in part by an Enterprise Green Communities Initiative Grant, this rehabilitation project was LINC’s first green project. Enterprise is also providing a list of consultants and technical assistance that meet LINC’s new green criteria.
Noel earned a degree in environmental design from the University of Puerto Rico, School of Architecture and a Master of Architecture from Southern California Institute of Architecture. His training has served him well during his work on Seasons at Compton, an 84-unit senior housing community. There, 30% of the units are being set aside for developmentally disabled adults, and universal design and green design are emphasized throughout. Noel is also involved with the development of a zero-energy community where at least 90% of the energy used will come from renewable solar energy.
Since ending the fellowship, Noel has become a licensed architect and is now working at Gonzalez Goodale Architects under the tutelage of Ali Barar , AIA who was the Rose Fellowship director of Peter Aeschbacher during his fellowship at the Los Angeles Community Design Center. Noel serves as Project Captain for several affordable housing projects in early stages of development in the Southern California region.