Santa Monica Boulevard, which for many Los Angeles commuters is no more than an exit from the 405 Freeway, is actually the last piece of Route 66, “America’s Main Street”, that once spanned from Chicago to the Pacific Ocean. In Los Angeles, this wide stretch of roadway linked Downtown, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica, in a commercial corridor of remnant and outmoded automobile parts stores and showrooms - an archetype of linear, car-centric urban planning. In that stretch which, contrary to reality, seems to have more traffic than residents, is Granville1500. The new mixed-use, 153-unit, 320,000 SF project will provide affordable housing offered at below market rates to UCLA medical students and staff in addition to academic, commercial, and public functions. Located within 10 minutes of UCLA’s main campus, the project offers a new approach to growth: blurring the boundary and embedding academic life within the urban contexts in which they are positioned. Granville1500 intends to intensify the urban experience, mirroring LOHA’s earlier project Westgate1515, located directly across the street. In tandem, these projects aim to reinforce a sense of place while adding to the vitality and energy in this fast-paced, burgeoning neighborhood. The design breaks down the bulk typical of most mega-block housing projects by showcasing residential and pedestrian experiences right at street level. The block-long parcel was once a car dealership, but now serves as a model for denser, mixed-use developments with a larger social purpose. With that aim of favoring pedestrian encounters, several strategies are used at ground level to anchor the building to the street. Rather than one massive, imposing facade, three discreet wedge-shaped volumes appear along Santa Monica Boulevard, each of them deftly touching down on the pavement. This lifting effect is achieved through a sequence of large pyramidal carve-outs, shaped like inverted prisms, placed at the corners of the complex. Besides providing breathing room beneath the structure, the gaps push the building back from the property line, with the added benefit of widening the sidewalk. Granville1500 strengthens LOHA’s commitment to creating spaces for civic engagement in urban developments. The resulting “urban village” strives to engage the public on a stretch of roadway better known for speeding cars and heavy traffic than a lively pedestrian streetscape. The project embraces the culture and ecology of its surroundings and provides students the opportunity to engage with the neighborhood in a more holistic way, whereas college campuses are often closed off from civic life. This project aims to change the conversation of what this neighborhood can be.
Founded in 1994 by Lorcan O'Herlihy, FAIA, LOHA is an award-winning architecture and urban design firm with offices in Los Angeles and Detroit. Collectively and collaboratively, we have built a robust portfolio of work that is rooted in embracing architecture's role as a catalyst for change. With a conscious understanding that architecture operates within a layered context of political, environmental, and social structures, LOHA seeks to elevate the human condition via the built environment. Our work ranges from art galleries, bus shelters, and large-scale neighborhood plans, to large mixed-use developments, supportive housing, and university residential complexes. LOHA has built over 100 projects across three continents, been published in over 20 countries, and has been recognized with over 100 awards, including the AIA CC Distinguished Practice Award, the 2021 AIALA Gold Medal, and AIALA Firm of the Year Award and was awarded voted the #1 Design Firm in the US by Architect Magazine.
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