San Vicente 935 by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects: 2018 Best of Year Winner for Rental Apartment Building
With the city’s mostly year-round temperate climate, the courtyard paradigm is a particularly thoughtful and desirable approach to multi-family housing. San Vicente 935, a seven-unit apartment building encompassing 9,200 square feet in West Hollywood, is composed of market-rate, two-bedroom rental units. Three of them are two-story town houses; four are single-story apartments. All have balconies overlooking the central courtyard from which circulation evolves via the main switchback stairway, striking in its own right. The solution “encourages social interaction and a sense of community between residents and visitors,” says Lorcan O’Herlihy, principal of his eponymous firm and a specialist in this project type. Further, providing accessibility to all units from this central open space, appointed with seating, a water feature, and native plantings, eliminates the need for interior, climate-controlled hallways, saving on energy consumption.
The project, however, is not entirely internally oriented. It has street presence, too. A quarter of the main elevation is carved away, creating an interplay of solid and void to decrease the building’s overall sense of mass. Meanwhile, that opening is a double-height, light-filled volume, giving passersby a direct sight line through to the courtyard. As for solid faces, O’Herlihy employed two materials that contrast each other for visual interest and also help to reduce scale. Siding is fiber cement made of recycled content. Screens, which act as a rain-shield system, are slats of ipe harvested from a local, sustainably managed forest.
Project Team: Ian Dickenson; Donnie Schmidt; Christopher Lim; Jonathan Louie.