1200 Sweetzer Maisonettes

DesignerAleks Istanbullu, Ariel Asken, Sanjiv Bajaj, Jan Lepicovsky, Corinna Gebert, Tania Sew Hoy, Joseph Tran
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

1200 Sweetzer is designed to entice Southern Californians from their unsustainable freestanding homes and offer them instead a home with all the flexibility, functionality, and aesthetic control and freedom of the California dream in a vibrant, dense and sustainable urban setting. The building is set back from the sidewalk behind a densely planted edge and gives way to an open court that welcomes residents and visitors alike into a vibrant and dramatic community courtyard off which the intimate yet spacious entries to the homes are located. The ground level homes open onto private gardens and/or courts; the penthouse level homes open to expansive roof decks and embrace views of the City and the Hollywood Hills. Within the homes, the two story plan allows the kitchen, dining and living rooms to be loft-like with 10-foot ceilings and open plans connecting naturally to the surrounding gardens or views. The bedroom floors are organized and proportioned with the spaciousness and grace of highly crafted custom homes. Each home has multiple orientations for daylong natural light and cross-ventilation: eight have operable windows on four orientations and two on three sides. Each bedroom suite has cross-ventilation and light from two orientations with the exceptions of one bedroom in the three bedroom residence which has a single large operable window. Dedicated forced air systems allow the two floors within each home to be controlled independently. Each residence is custom designed to take full advantage of its unique position and circumstance within the complex, resulting in individual floor plans, fenestration, amenities and views. The bedrooms of the five penthouses are located on the floor below the living spaces; the five courtyard homes’ bedrooms are on the level above. A dramatic roof deck running the length of the building is accessed by three of the penthouses. The interiors are appointed with highly crafted details, materials and fixtures including mahogany floors and cabinetry, high-end Italian tiles and Bertazoni ranges similar to our high-end custom homes in Pasadena, Newport Beach, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Hancock Park, Mulholland Drive, and the Hollywood Hills. The overall configuration of the building avoids internal corridors or motel style circulation, by orienting the residences around a gracious courtyard culminating in a dramatic three story architectural space off which private entries to each home are organized. Upon entering each home, the warm mahogany floors of the interior spaces create a sense of arrival and contrast with the cooler palette of the exterior architecture. The variety of plans, the alternating intimate and loft-like spaces, the multiple orientations, the two-story organization, and the flexible fenestration, enables each homeowner to retain both the feeling of freedom and the direct control over his/her environment associated with freestanding houses.

About Designer

Aleks Istanbullu combines a passion for the expressive potential of form and materials with a commitment to the efficient articulation of structure, program and detail. Istanbullu has had his own firm for more than 20 years during which time he has enjoyed both an independent practice and succesful collaborations with other design professionals. His projects have been recognized with awards from the American Institute of Architects at both the local and state levels. He is published in national and international journals. Istanbullu?s designs include community buildings, homes, live-work lofts and mixed-use projects located in dense urban settings. Current projects include several multi-family mixed-use buildings, the urban design of several blocks in the historic core of Tucson, the adaptive re-use of a historic factory building, a custom home and a five-story mixed-use commercial center in Turkey. Istanbullu matriculated from both the undergraduate and graduate and architecture programs of the Illinois Institute of technology. He continues his engagement with education by teaching undergraduate Housing and Urban Design Studios as well as graduate Architecture Studios at the University of Southern California. His civic and professional involvement includes serving on the board of Directors of St. Elmo?s Village, former President of the Design Professionals Coalition and as a member of the American Institute of Architects.