Through its materiality and form, LOHA’s design for SL11024, a housing complex on the border of UCLA’s campus, seamlessly engages its historically sensitive site and challenging hillside topography and creates a new model for urban development that enriches an academic community.
Sited opposite Richard Neutra’s Strathmore Apartments in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, this housing complex of 31 units and recreational amenities pays homage to its preeminent neighbor while providing the community with much-needed housing for students, faculty, and others. Following conversations with the client and community activists, LOHA developed a scheme that responds to the considerations of the established neighborhood, the client’s extensive program requirements, and the unique, wedge-shaped site.
By splitting the building into two volumes, LOHA was able to efficiently integrate the structure’s overall massing with the existing landscape, provide wind cross-ventilation to the apartments, and define a clear circulation path through the property. The building’s volumes shift downward along the street’s natural incline and reach their lowest height directly across from Neutra’s modernist landmark, thereby echoing and amplifying the enlightened site strategies of this high-profile neighbor.
Continuing LOHA’s efforts to add green spaces into dense, urban developments, the building incorporates landscaped roof terraces at various levels, creating inviting outdoor areas for students. By stepping back the form, LOHA created access from each floor level to either a roof deck or a courtyard space, providing vital gathering and community-building venues. This continuous terracing of communal space from the street level to the roof results in a powerful urban and architectural gesture that offers a multi-layered connection both within the building and out towards the surrounding community.
LOHA’s material choices for the building envelope of solid, perforated, and ribbed white metal panels project the vibrancy embedded within the project’s form, programming, and functions. Cement board painted in eight green-hued layers creates a gradient effect that grounds the building’s base and lightens as the structure meets the sky. The green delineates cuts in the building’s form, indicating voids for circulation and gathering spaces. The cladding system blurs the boundary between the sidewalk and the building mass, creating an animated effect of rippling shadow and light that breaks up the scale of the wall surfaces.
This project is a part of LOHA’s ongoing commitment to address and elevate challenging urban conditions. Here, LOHA embraced the unique topography of a hillside site to craft a multi-faceted building that is an asset to the increasingly dense and dynamic urban fabric of Westwood.
Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects [LOHA] harnesses the complexities and latent opportunities of urban society to create transformative architecture. Our work is driven by ruthless optimism, creative pragmatism, and a profound conviction that bold, enlightened design elevates the soul and enriches communities.
We balance ideals and pragmatics, intuition and logic, radical visions and fulfilled expectations. We ground our process in rigorous exploration, persistent questioning, and technical expertise. We craft distinctive, sustainable, elegantly resolved designs that meet the needs of our clients and respond to broader civic and social ambitions.
Since 1994, LOHA has built over 85 projects across three continents. Our diverse work ranges from large, mixed-use developments and university residential complexes to art galleries and bus shelters. LOHA has been published in over 20 countries and recognized with over 100 awards, including the AIA Los Angeles Firm of the Year.
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