New Carver Apartments
Michael Maltzan Architecture

January 03, 2011 /

Los Angeles, California, USA

Photo: Iwan BaanAs cars pass from east to west, the building's facade transforms itself as its saw tooth facets open to view.

Just south of Los Angeles' fast‐growing downtown and immediately adjacent to the I‐10 freeway, the New Carver Apartments explores how architecture can create new possibilities for its highly vulnerable, dramatically under‐served residents as well as for Los Angeles as a whole.

Photo: Iwan Baan

Viewed from the freeway and the street, the project's faceted form articulates the scale of the individual units within, expressing the dynamic relationship between an urban fabric composed of individual lives, the texture of our collective experience, and the speed of the freeway.

Photo: Iwan Baan

At street level a series of lines trace the street inwards, defining primary circulation paths, organizing program spaces, and creating views deep into and across the block.

Photo: Iwan Baan

Photo: Iwan Baan

Photo: Iwan Baan

Confronted with a significant level of ambient noise from passing automobiles, the form creates a sound buffer by minimizing the building's area directly opposite the freeway; smaller‐scale facets position unit windows perpendicular to the direction of sound, further shielding the units themselves.

Photo: Iwan Baan

The facade underscores the relationship between the building and the freeway, creating a subtle pattern of light and shadow further animated by the illumination of passing cars.

Photo: Iwan Baan

The architecture urges residents to connect with the urban context at multiple scales and from multiple vantage points throughout the building. The screened central courtyard connects vertically to the natural sky; a grand stair gestures down towards the urban fabric of the ground floor, drawing the courtyard space across the lobby and into the street.

Photo: Iwan Baan

Photo: Iwan Baan

Photo: Iwan Baan

Photo: Iwan Baan

Photo: Iwan Baan

Photo: Iwan Baan

Photo: Iwan Baan

At the top floor, a partially covered terrace creates dramatic views of the downtown skyline. Visual and perceptual connections to the local landscape abound at multiple scales, drawing out the rich texture of the social program and sitting it within the expansive perspective of the architecture.

Photo: Iwan Baan

The project's 97 units provide permanent housing for formerly homeless elderly and disabled residents, a place for solace, support, and individual growth in the face of the city's chronic homeless problem. By incorporating communal spaces - kitchens, dining areas, gathering spaces and gardens - into the Carver's raised form, as well as medical and social service support facilities into the plinth beneath, the project encourages its residents to not only reconnect with each other but also with the world outside its doors.

Drawing courtesy Michael Maltzan Architecture
Views to Downtown

Drawing courtesy Michael Maltzan Architecture
Ground Floor Plan

Drawing courtesy Michael Maltzan Architecture
Typical Upper Floor Plan

Drawing courtesy Michael Maltzan Architecture

Model photo courtesy Michael Maltzan Architecture

Facts about New Carver Apartments

Site area:

16,105 ft2
Building area: 53,000 ft2
Total floor area: 53,000 gross ft2

Michael Maltzan Architecture

Principal in Charge:

Michael Maltzan

Project Director:

Peter Erni

Project Designers:

Steven Hsun Lee & Wil Carson

Senior Technical Coordinator:

Hiroshi Tokumaru

Project Team:

Christophe Plattner
Sevak Karabachian
Yan Wang
Carter Read
Mark Lyons
Christian Nakarado

Structural Engineer:

B.W. Smith Structural Engineers

Mechanical engineer:

IBE Consulting Engineers

Electrical engineer:

IBE Consulting Engineers

Civil engineer:

Paller‐Roberts Engineering, Inc.

General contractor:

Westport Construction, Inc.

Photographed by Iwan Baan


Skid Row Housing Trust

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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