Background and Program An under-utilized 40,706 sf corner lot on Santa Monica Boulevard was purchased by the City of West Hollywood in the 1990’s to address a shortage of parking in the neighborhood. The City then selected a developer team to deliver the needed public parking and flush out a mixed use program through a community design process led by the architect The process focused on achieving a balance between public parking, scale, active street presence and the transition to the hillside neighborhood. Consensus was reached with a mixed-use program in a four story building that provided 31 condominiums, 7 affordable studios, 11,600 sf of retail space, 156 public parking spaces and 61 residential parking spaces. As always, the community process and negotiation took time. Schematic design began in 2004 and construction was completed in August 2009. Approach This is a project about making connections. The approach to parking structured the effort. It’s configuration (see section) made sense of the irregular, sloping lot and carheavy program to both reinforce street life and create a contributive roof top open space. Public parking is provided below grade while residential parking (accessed from the north end of the site) loops up and over street level rental housing (behind the wood louvers) to the roof. The arrangement puts housing and people (rather than parking) at grade on Hancock Avenue and initiates a landscape sequence at the roof that organizes a prosaic use into more of a hillside square ringed by existing apartments and the new housing. Architectural expression is rooted in passive sustainable strategies utilizing thin cross-ventilated unit plans. Flats facing the Boulevard are provided with sliding wood screens which allow exterior shading as well as a choice in level of engagement with the noisy street below. Town houses have private courtyards which modulate the scale as the building moves north to merge with the hillside neighborhood behind. Sustainability Social and environmental sustainability goals guided design (see above) but the project did not pursue any rating.
Koning Eizenberg was established in 1981 by Hank Koning FAIA, FRAIA and Julie Eizenberg, AIA. The roots of the practice were in affordable housing and small design/build projects and the discipline of tight budgets and hands on pragmatism established the character of the firm. Nowadays projects vary in scale from exhibits and small additions to masterplanning and cross the gamut of building types. Koning Eizenberg attracts projects that require a re-evaluation of contextual and programmatic conventions and delivers enduring social and environmentally sustainable places. Their ‘people oriented’ work has earned over 70 design awards and has been extensively published - the principals leverage this credibility to influence and change the context as well as craft buildings that, by example, raise expectations for design in the public realm. Notable projects include the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Hancock Mixed Use, LA Downtown Standard Hotel, John Adams Middle School, Austin Children’s Museum, AMP Lofts and the Santa Monica Village.