Landscape Design & California “Must Haves”

August 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Drought tolerance is fundamental to sustainable gardening in southern California and to planting design on our projects at Studio One Eleven. In discussing sustainable landscaping, many people feel that drought tolerant planting requires the exclusive use of native California plants. While native plants definitely have their place in landscape design, we are fortunate to live in a Mediterranean climate where plants from many parts of the world can grow and thrive. Read more…


Adding Economic, Sustainable, & Aesthetic Value: Road Diets in Long Beach

May 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

Highlighted below are four recent projects that reflect various road diets in the City of Long Beach. These projects have provided additional economic, sustainable, and aesthetic value to neighborhoods by complimenting engineering with good design.

First+Linden Curb Extension (Studio One Eleven)
Initially viewed as an ADA upgrade by Public Works, this project transferred 3,000 square feet of roadway into the pedestrian realm, adding landscape and outdoor seating with no loss of parking. Pedestrian crossing distances were also reduced by 60%, allowing better vehicular flow.  Since this project was completed, five new businesses have moved in and two have expanded. (Cost $400k.)

West Broadway and Third Street Cycle Track (KOA Corporation)
By transferring one vehicle lane to a protected bike lane, these two streets have transformed from freeway extensions into urban streets. Traffic speeds have been reduced by 20%, promoting balanced mobility for pedestrians and cyclists. Additonal landscape enhancements will become permanent after a one year test-run. (Cost $700k.)

Vista Bike Boulevard (KOA Corporation)
By adding eight landscaped round-a-bouts and traffic circles, Vista has been transformed. It now allows children to bike to three different elementary schools, and neighbors have embraced the landscaping by adding lights to the new trees during the holiday season. Also, property values for homes fronting Vista have actually increased in value, which is exceptionally rare in our current economy. (Cost 600k.)

East Broadway Medians (Studio One Eleven)
This residential street currently has average traffic speeds of 35 mph in a 20 mph zone. The proposed medians will serve to calm traffic, provide an area of refuge for crossing pedestrians, and serve as bio-swales to capture rain water. Property values are estimated to increase by 5-10% when completed. (Cost 500k.)

These and other context driven road diets have allowed for the doubling of bike routes to 400 miles within the City over the last five years, all while improving the quality of life and making our city a more beautiful place.

How We Did It: Obtaining a Change-of-Use Agreement for Continental Graphics

February 28, 2011 § 2 Comments

We recently worked to obtain a “change-of-use” agreement for our Continental Graphics project in Los Angeles, and it was a very enlightening and complicated process. “Change-of-use” literally means permission has been given by a local authority for premises to be used for a different purpose. This particular project contained one office and one manufacturing/garage space, both of which have now been officially converted to retail. The project plan-checked through Case Management at LADBS, which is where projects are sent if they are complex in nature and have multiple entitlements.

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Retail Typology

January 31, 2011 § 1 Comment

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This week we had the opportunity to present residential, retail, and office typologies to a real estate class at the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Redevelopment. It gave us a chance to brush up on our retail typology section, which we’ve included here.

We’ve organized retail types into small, medium, and large format. These are then organized into various configurations that respond to the number of households within a catchment area. This year, under the transitory retail configuration, we’ve even added food service trucks!

Building Coordination: Mechanical Venting

December 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

Good Coordination
Do this!  Proper coordination.

The location of mechanical venting is often overlooked in building design.  It requires careful coordination between structural elements such as posts, beams, hold-downs and codes in order to make the building’s façade appear harmonious.  Often times you can integrate mechanical venting into a thoughtful detail – as seen in the cover plates or in the detail our office has produced, both illustrated above.  However, when this is not addressed it can look like an uncoordinated afterthought, as shown below. Though this effort can be “exhausting,” it is well worth it.

Avoid this! The result of poor coordination.

Customized Prefab Provides Economy, Sustainability and Flexibility

November 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

Conservation Corp of Long Beach - Environmental Education Center
Exterior view showing cedar siding and metal wall panels 

The recently completed Conservation Corps of Long Beach Environment Education Center, a recycling center and educational community space in Signal Hill, shows that prefab construction can save cost, and contribute to the building’s functionality and sustainability, while not sacrificing aesthetics.

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