Concrete Feelings

A “brutalist” apartment building is on the way in West Hollywood

Architecture West
Los Angeles–based architect Marcello Pozzi has designed a “brutalist” apartment building for an urban site in West Hollywood, California. (Courtesy City of West Hollywood)
Los Angeles–based architect Marcello Pozzi has designed a “brutalist” apartment building for an urban site in West Hollywood, California. (Courtesy City of West Hollywood)

Love it or hate it, Brutalism is definitely back. For proof, look no further than Los Angeles, where local architect Marcello Pozzi is working on designs for an upscale “brutalist” courtyard apartment building that is wrapped in rough concrete finishes.

Urbanize.LA reported that the project, a five-story, 10-unit complex located at 8615 West Knoll Drive, was recently submitted to the City of West Hollywood Design Review Subcommittee for approval. The development includes a mix of one- and two-bedroom units, including a pair of double-height ground floor apartments that each contain a mezzanine bedroom level.

Rendering of Marcello Pozzi's brutalist 8615 West Knoll Drive apartment building

Elevation view of the apartment (Courtesy City of West Hollywood)

Although brut in its outer finishes, the complex will be nothing like your grandparents’ Brutalist housing schemes. Instead of dank, cold apartments, the complex is designed to embrace the Southern California sunshine and features warm wood finishes and lots of glass. Generous 11-foot floor-to-floor heights throughout the building will complement thin floor plates and pass-through apartment layouts to provide well-lit and open living spaces, according to a project statement. The development will also be marked by wide but shallow balconies along its principal facade. These exaggerated Juliet-style balconies aim to enhance the indoor-outdoor qualities of the main living spaces for each unit. A 17-foot-tall passageway along the ground floor will link to a 19-foot-by-31-foot planted courtyard designed by landscape architects Viriditas Design, as well.

Architect Gwynne Pugh, who sits on the review subcommittee, issued a report for the building’s design, highlighting the “brutalist” elements and the development’s thoughtful site and apartment design.

In the report, Pugh writes, “This has been put together very thoughtfully and elegantly. The simple forms [act] as a backdrop to the visceral experience of the environment.” Pugh also praised the ground floor landscaping for its “park-like” qualities while also highlighting that the design represents a “highly sophisticated project that has been thought through thoroughly.” Pugh added, “It is a relatively quiet building in its visual aspect but highly detailed in its simplicity. This is an appropriate project to be considered as exemplary.”

A timeline for the development has not been revealed. Design and planning reviews for the project are currently pending.

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