It’s about doing a lot more in the same amount of space. Lorcan O’Herlihy is hard at work rethinking design conventions in the City of Angels, as proved by his Best of Year winner in the Multiunit Residential category last time. “I don’t fear density,” he says. “Small-lot subdivision is something that continues to intrigue people here.” His latest endeavor reinvents a local architectural signature: mid-century “dingbat” apartment buildings with cars below.
This five-unit building, 12,000 square feet in all, sits perpendicular to the street to make full use of a lot originally intended for just one house. “It’s an opportunity to work within the height restrictions and create density in a way that has a vibrancy, an inventiveness,” he explains. A warm color palette and floor-to-ceiling windows add spaciousness and depth. Aluminum and polycarbonate add visual substance. Replacing traditional yard space in the front and back, individual roof decks emphasize what he calls “social connectivity” while celebrating the indoor-outdoor culture. The greatest hurdle was to convince the fire department to reassess its standards for closely positioned structures.
Groundbreaking is expected in the coming months. After completion, the prescient O’Herlihy expects more projects to adopt a denser design typology as part of the response to the need of alleviating the city’s current housing dilemma.
Project Team: Nick Hopson; Noelle White; Brian Adolph; Chris Gassaway; Cameron Overy; Leo Yu.