The heart of Sunset Junction is about to get an influx of new buildings and a touch of classic modernism. Developer Frost/Chaddock recently unveiled a large mixed-use complex in the junction, designed by Kanner Architects and Killefer Flammang.
The team hopes to extend the Junction several blocks north of its current endpoint, Santa Monica Boulevard, adding over 300 residential units, as well as over 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO) also plans a public space and transportation plaza on the awkward triangle of land fronting the site.
The scheme will include three buildings by the two architects: 4000 Sunset Boulevard and 4100 Sunset Boulevard (located on land once occupied by a row of recently-demolished small shops that officials had tried to save and a popular bar called 4100) will be designed by Kanner. Across the street, 4301 Sunset Boulevard (on the site of the decrepit Bates Motel) will be designed by Killefer Flammang. Each will contain at least 90 residential units and about 5,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space.
The buildings, pointed out Kanner Architects principal Winston Chappell, were inspired by LA’s long history of multifamily apartments from the likes of R.M. Schindler and Richard Neutra. Their simple white palettes, mixed with warmer tones, are meant to fit unobtrusively into their lively surroundings but still provide some excitement. Significant attention was paid to breaking down the multi-story buildings’ massing, through patterned materials, screens, vertical louvers, balconies and voids. Chappell pointed to the building’s “lightness,” and his firm’s constant efforts at “banding, wrapping and shaping the volumes.” Judi Hodge, Kanner project manager, said “We wanted to bring the textures of Sunset Junction into the building.”
In addition to a new public park and transit plaza (which will contain a new saddle-shaped sculpture by architectural collaborative All That is Solid, winner of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council’s “Envisioning Silver Lake” competition), the city plans to re-route streets in the area to make the area more pedestrian-friendly and reduce bottlenecks.
The project’s EIR has been filed, and the firm hopes to have entitlements completed by the end of this year. The biggest challenge: winning over always-vocal Silver Lake residents and officials. “We have told them that we are going to be watching,” said Julie Wong, spokeswoman for local Councilman Eric Garcetti.