Columbus Townhouses

Glendale, California
13,600 sq. ft., 11-unit multi family housing project: This project is a response to the conflict in Southern California between the socioeconomic demands for more housing and community demands that the massing of the new higher density projects not overwhelm existing neighborhoods. As a building in a park, with 23 percent more open space than is required by the local zoning code, it achieves indoor/outdoor living typically only achieved in single family housing. The increased open space is achieved by rethinking how the building can be positioned on the site, by re-thinking where open space can occur in/on a building, and by rethinking how we respond to stepping setbacks required by zoning codes. The stepping setbacks, which are encouraged to break up building massing and to maintain natural light to neighbors, typically result in a larger base footprint that takes away from usable open area around buildings. Rather than the pyramid configuration encouraged by the zoning code, the entire project footprint pushes within the third floor setback for all levels. This massing eliminates the stepped pyramid elevations seen in most new construction in Glendale and provides an additional six feet of open space on all sides of the building. Rather than a narrow side yard, the wider open space is used for barbecue and picnic areas as well as a parkway for residents. The street is sparsely landscaped, so the front yard has been designed as a park for the enjoyment of the neighborhood as well as residents. With the pyramid effect removed, a pattern of angled portals and incisions is incorporated to the façade to give depth to the elevations and to create a rhythmic backdrop for the landscape in the foreground. A narrow courtyard incision is also made in the front of the building to allow for a more intimate common open space. This courtyard is also intended to feel like an extension of the parkway that terminates across the street. The extension of the landscape further into the building footprint creates more depth for the park and the building massing. Where incisions are made into the building, a material shift occurs from cooler cement board tones to a warmer vertical grain cedar siding. The material shift reinforces the idea of incisions and reinforces the graphic rhythm of the building. A green roof has soil depths for trees above the subterranean parking and the driveway.
In Progress
AUX Team:
Brian Wickersham (Principal-in-Charge), Sabina Lira (PM), Louie Bofill, Aris Keshishian, Manori Sumanasinghe
Civil Engineer - Techna Land Co. Ltd., Structural Engineer - Kazarian Engineering Services, Inc., M/P - Airplus Engineering Consultants, Inc. Electrical Engineer - Abrari and Associates, Inc., Irrigation Consultant - Minkay Services
2017 AIA San Fernando Valley Design Awards - Citation