Los Angeles–based Lorcan O’Herilhy Architects (LOHA) recently completed work on Mariposa 1038, a diamond-shaped 32-unit multifamily apartment structure in L.A.’s Koreatown neighborhood.

The 68,000-square-foot structure occupies a tight urban site in one of L.A’s densest neighborhoods and aims to provide much-needed housing to an area that is otherwise at risk for gentrification. The apartment building is shaped like a cube that has been puckered at the corners, revealing gently-curved facades that swing back from the street. Along the sidewalk, the voided segment leftover as the facade pulls back is filled with a large concrete block planter packed with trees and shrubs.

LOHA has completed work on a star-shaped multifamily apartment structure in Los Angeles that features projecting balconies of varying widths and depths. (Courtesy Paul Vu)

The overlooking curved stucco walls are studded with folded metal window hoods that frame varied apertures and inset balconies. The window hoods themselves extend out from the curved facade to the original extents of the mass, are painted in monochromatic tones, and vary in width across the expanse, changing to their attendant apertures. In a statement announcing the project’s completion, LOHA drew attention to the window treatments, saying, “Throughout the day, the movement of dark shadows across the white and black facades activates the project with a dynamic sense of constant rearrangement.”



Groundfloor areas along the sidewalk are framed with concrete planters and are overlooked by balconies. (Courtesy Paul Vu)

Along its interior, Mariposa 1038 features a central, stark-white courtyard that is outlined in sinuous, streamlined geometries and contains an embedded water catchment system along the ground floor. When it rains, water collects from around the courtyard spaces into a landscaped planter that not only harvests water but contains integrated seating elements, as well—here, a pair of angular wooden benches. The segmented courtyard geometries wrap over the uppermost parapet, connecting the space to a rooftop terrace overlooking the city.

View of the Mariposa1038 courtyard, which contains a central planter that also doubles as a rainwater catchment cistern. (Courtesy Paul Vu)

Meanwhile, the units inside the structure are spare in their ornamentation and feature floor-to-ceiling window assemblies—the same openings framed by the exterior hoods along the facade. The units are organized with integrated storage walls and have been designed to maximize passive ventilation strategies, as well.

Aside from the completion of Mariposa 1038, LOHA is also at work on a bevy of innovative projects across Los Angeles and recently opened a satellite office in Detroit, Michigan.

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