Yearamid of the Pyramid

Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects plans top-heavy tower in L.A.'s Hancock Park

The tower facing south, where it appears more slender. (Courtesy Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects)

In the quiet Los Angeles neighborhood of Hancock Park, local firm Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA) have revealed initial plans for an 11-story, 34,000-square-foot apartment building to be developed by Metros Capital near the corner of Rossmore Avenue and Clinton Street. In order to fit 14 units on the tight, irregularly-shaped 7,000-square-foot lot, the architects had to come up with a top-heavy design scheme that would not draw excessive attention to itself within its low-slung context, which consists of several preserved, Art Deco-style apartment buildings designed in the 1930s and ‘40s.

The result is a design with a series of incrementally shifting floor plates that play a few visual tricks from the street. “Passing by the tower becomes an elusive spectacle,” wrote LOHA in a statement, “seemingly narrower at the bottom if you’re facing one way and skinnier at the top if you’re facing the other.” Additionally, the building’s ground floor is set far back from the street to avoid interrupting the pedestrian-friendly character of the neighborhood, while the communal spaces are entirely located on the rooftop. The shifting section of the building was prompted by “the elongated S-curve of Rossmore Avenue, as well as the marque-like facades of nearby multi-story apartment buildings.”

A white pyramidal tower

The tower as seen from the north appears substantial, whereas it appears slim looking the opposite direction. (Courtesy Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects)

LOHA hopes that the building will exemplify a preferable alternative to the more common apartment building typology found in Los Angeles, of “massive floor plates that maximize the ground plane and create a sort of squat density, where buildings are tightly glued to the sidewalk.” The project is scheduled to break ground early next year and be completed sometime in 2021.

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