Sketch of the Week: West Valley Towers

March 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

This week’s sketch is of West Valley Towers in Van Nuys, CA. The redesigned visitors entry incorporates an existing tree and provides a new steel trellis, screen planting, and a water feature to direct guests into the project.

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Long Beach Needs More Creative Office Space

March 26, 2012 § 2 Comments

We occasionally invite guests to contribute to our blog. This week, Toliver Morris – considered by many as the Long Beach Office Expert – has kindly shared his perspective on the need for more creative office space in Long Beach, CA. He and his family reside within the city, and he cares greatly about the community. Toliver can be contacted or followed via his informative website/blog at www.LongBeachOffice.net.

Cie Studios, Long Beach (Gensler, courtesy of Toliver Morris.)

As a commercial broker who focuses on helping companies with their office needs in Long Beach and surrounding areas, the question I’m asked most often is: “Is there any really cool, creative, loft-type space?”. Unfortunately, the answer too often is “no” or “very little”. The vast majority of office space in Long Beach (even in cool, old buildings) is boring, generic, uninspired, tired, “vanilla” space – blegh!

A relatively historic city for the West Coast, Long Beach could (and should) have an abundance of creative/tech space. Even traditional companies prefer interesting, cool office space over hum-drum vanilla, but creative companies absolutely require it. Creatives prefer to office in urban, safe, pedestrian environments with character and history, as well as numerous amenities. If executives and employees of those creative companies can live nearby, either in affordable urban or dynamic suburban enclaves, even better. Long Beach is the perfect place. Read more…

Sketch of the Week: Formosa South at The Lot

March 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

This week’s sketch features a detail from our Formosa South project. Located at The Lot Movie Studio in West Hollywood, Formosa South is a five story, poured-in-place concrete office building that’s currently winding its way through plan check, with construction slated to start later this spring. The building is the first phase of a larger scale master plan aimed at creating an integrated media, technology, and entertainment production campus on the historic movie studio site.

The detail in context.

Incremental Urbanism

March 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

Recently, we were asked to share our perspective at a community event focused on the state of downtown Long Beach’s urban framework. The following is an excerpt from the presentation:

During these challenging economic times, and with the loss of redevelopment agencies, we’ve been impressed by the resilience of both downtown and its adjacent neighborhoods. Organic small-scale improvements (what we refer to as incremental urbanism) are collectively having a positive impact on our environment and support the city’s desire to be more sustainable and healthy. These improvements can be organized into three categories:

1. Adaptive Reuse

Approaching urban renewal by purchasing adjacent individual lots and clear-cutting buildings for block size development has now become cost-prohibitive, resulting in an increased interest in reuse. Excellent examples of unique building stock that has been re-positioned include 4th + Linden, 420 Fourth Street, and the Arts Building on Third Street.
Read more…

Sketch of the Week: Long Beach Airport

March 14, 2012 § 1 Comment

Sketch showing one of our initial ideas for the soon-to-be completed Long Beach Airport Terminal Improvement project. We were selected to design all of the retail and restaurant shops at the new terminal buildings, and we couldn’t be more excited to be involved in this ground-breaking endeavor.

Reimaging Urban Infrastructure

March 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

The Long Beach branch of the US Green Building Council recently hosted a panel discussion on the future of urban infrastructure. The standing-room only event was held in the solarium perched atop the historic Sovereign Building, which provided panoramic views of Downtown Long Beach and the coastline. The three speakers included Studio One Eleven’s Brian Ulaszewski, Stantec Transportation Engineer and Institute of Traffic Engineers President Rock Miller, and Madeline Brozen from the Complete Streets Initiative at UCLA’s Lewis Center.

The discussion ranged in scale from temporary street interventions like parklets to freeway cap projects and removal, all focused on using infrastructure to better serve the needs of people. Concepts such as protected bike lanes, roundabouts, and areas of refuge were identified as facilities that can be transposed onto existing street networks to promote active forms of mobility, while electricity transmission corridors and stormwater management systems could be used to create new open space.

Bulb-outs and parklets contribute to a more human-scale. Read more…

WoodWorks Tour of Long Beach Senior Art Colony

March 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

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Last weekend, our Long Beach Senior Art Colony project was included in a tour of wood framed buildings under construction around Southern California.  Sponsored by WoodWorks, the tour highlighted Type V and Type III wood construction and asked the question, “Why wood?”

Long Beach Senior Art Colony involves two adjacent senior housing components with shared amenities: a 161 unit Senior Arts Colony (SAC), a community focused on continued learning, creative arts, and fitness, and an adjacent building, the Arts Annex (AA). The AA contains 39 units of additional affordable senior housing. The SAC and AA components include, respectively, five and three stories of wood framing over one story of concrete plus mezzanine. The SAC building forms a south facing courtyard, providing solar access while collecting cool ocean breezes. Within the courtyard is a freestanding community performing arts theater, which is the focal point of the project. A second courtyard, accessible to residents in both phases of the development, will have a dog park, expansive lawn and community gardens. Once completed, the project will have 200 units of housing. Read more…

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