written by:
March 13, 2009

Although it's not a 'green' space specifically, the new Formosa 1140 building in West Hollywood, by Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects (LOHA), embraces community living and gives back some public green to the city around it.

Formosa 1140 Lorcan Oherlihy fullshot

As a multi-family building, the residential density Formosa 1140 facilitates is inherently more sustainable than almost any free-standing, single-family dwelling. In the February issue of Dwell, architect Tone Wheeler reinforced this idea, saying, "Building a freestanding prefab home is, in a sense, building a greener SUV: You're greening up the wrong thing." While Formosa 1140 is not prefab (though it does use a panelized exterior), it addresses issues of urban density and residential community-building—two topics often found in prefab discussions.

There's currently a strong focus in urban development on improving multi-family residential options as part of overall environmental goals. The sustainable aspects of the building itself are vital, but so is considering how and where the building is situated within the city. LOHA clearly took the broad view when they rethought the design of the 11-unit, 4-story building in West Hollywood, emphasizing shared open green space not only for the residents, but the community at large.

In Los Angeles, the presence of affluent residents, plenty of land, and nice weather have led to sprawl as single-family homes have blown up into McMansions through concentric rings of suburbs and exurbs. But with the recent boom of live/work lofts downtown and quite a few high rises popping up around the city, it seems Los Angeles might finally be catching up with more densely populated cities like San Francisco or Chicago.

The Formosa 1140 is a new version of multi-use building for LA. From the outside, the structure is striking with red outer skin panels overlapping in a Mondrian-esque collage of walls, balconies and windows. It's not just for show; the west facing panels serve to keep sun off the units and passively keep them cooler in the bright LA sun, helping cut down on A/C usage.

The units are light, modern, and airy, with simple interior color palettes that reflect daylight and add a spacious quality to the rooms. Outside, instead of creating eleven individual green spaces, the architects decided to concentrate the building on two-thirds of the property and create a park that could be a shared open space for the community.

Each unit is oriented for views onto the park (and each has a rooftop deck to better enjoy the vista), and thanks to an agreement between the architects, the City of West Hollywood, and the developer, The Habitat Group, the green space is being leased back to the city as part of a network of pocket parks throughout West Hollywood that they hope will change the way Los Angeles thinks about open space and offer an opportunity for more public gathering.

See more information and images on the Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects site.

 Photography by Lawrence Anderson/Esto.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

mountfordarchitects western australia
On a narrow site in Western Australia, Mountford Architects makes the most of a tight spot—with an eye to the future.
May 25, 2016
San Francisco living room with Wassily chairs
Materials and furniture transformed the layout of this San Francisco house, without the need for dramatic structural intervention.
May 24, 2016
shiver me timbers tallow wood kitchen
A pair of married architects put their exacting taste to work on their own family escape in the Australian bush.
May 24, 2016
in the balance small space massachusetts cantilevered cabin glass facade
When nature laid down a boulder of a design challenge in the Massachusetts mountains, an architect’s solution elevated the project to new heights.
May 24, 2016
Wooden Walkways
A home in Ontario, Canada, demonstrates how factory-built housing can be as site sensitive as traditional construction.
May 24, 2016
15 icff 5
From Corian furniture to immersive installations, here are some of our favorite designs we saw at the 2016 shows.
May 24, 2016
A home and community celebrate natural remove in unison.
May 24, 2016
With our annual issue devoted to the outdoors on newsstands, we did a lap of Instagram for some extra inspiration.
May 23, 2016
forest for the trees english prefab mobile home facade chesnut cladding
On the edge of a historic park in an English shire, a prefabricated home sets a new design standard.
May 23, 2016
tread lightly australia
A family home on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula is built to blend in with its lakeside setting.
May 23, 2016
jardins party dining room hay chairs local wood floor
A pair of architects help a client carve out an oasis of calm amid São Paulo’s bustle.
May 23, 2016
hwm6zf 1
No matter where you're located or what time of the year it is, having a fireplace in your home is a treasure that’s continuously sought after. Besides the obvious benefits of keeping a fire going through the cold winter months, it can also be a cherished asset that provides an extra level of year-round comfort—not to mention how it can help define the layout of a space by acting as a sculptural element.
May 23, 2016
An office Crosby Studios designed for NGRS in Moscow
Crosby Studios just cares about the essentials.
May 22, 2016
cold sweat seattle floating sauna gocstudio
A cadre of designers let off steam after hours by building and sailing a seaworthy sauna.
May 22, 2016
in the swim off the grid campsite healdsburg california swimming pool solar heat lap pool ipe deck loll designs lounge chairs
An off-the-grid house that is little more than a decked campsite—albeit with a roof—includes a swimming pool for a family that loves to enjoy the elements.
May 21, 2016
A print by Kristina Krogh
From flat to physical, Kristina Krogh masters every dimension.
May 21, 2016
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
May 21, 2016
beverly hills living room piano view
Architect Noah Walker, principal of Los Angeles–based studio Walker Workshop, shares completed and work-in-progress residential designs on his Instagram page (@noah_walker). Take a peek at some of the striking modern houses here, and tour the Venice House on the Dwell Home Tours on June 26.
May 20, 2016
ripple effect san fancisco small space yard outdoor monica viarengo pebble mosiac artificial turf slide
A San Francisco landscape designer finds a small-space solution that’s anything but narrow-minded.
May 20, 2016
Oslo living room with light wood floors and wood slab table
A pair of designers in Oslo, armed with tricks for introducing color and daylight, remake their compact late-19th-century apartment.
May 20, 2016
family affair backyard addition portrait
In coastal Massachusetts, a resourceful couple and their equally enterprising children use reclaimed materials to create a versatile 168-square-foot backyard building.
May 20, 2016
speed machine australian beachside prefab archiblox facade colorbond ultra steel cladding queensland blue gum wood
With little time to waste, an Australian firm erects an efficient prefab overlooking the ocean.
May 20, 2016
Christian Benimana at Design Indaba
When he was younger, there wasn't a single architecture school in his country. Now, as part of MASS Design Group, Christian Benimana shares how architecture can heal and inspire Africa.
May 19, 2016
01 1
This Italian villa is serenity incarnate.
May 19, 2016
michael cobb interior
Alternative materials help a house in California’s wine country tread lightly on the land.
May 18, 2016
13266797 1799532953608317 1984666518 n 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
May 18, 2016
Industrial kitchen built on a budget.
In Austin, Texas, architect Sean Guess forges an inventive industrial kitchen for a cost-conscious couple.
May 18, 2016
great danes dining area
In an up-and-coming area of Copenhagen, a pair of designers and their twin girls inhabit a converted loft, filling it with serious design savvy and a hefty dose of creativity.
May 18, 2016
25687 preview low 1633 2 25687 sc v2com
An 1885 house in Montreal dips a little into its backyard for spare space.
May 17, 2016
modern ecoconscious pavilion walkway roof
A couple’s retirement home on a nature preserve in Carmel, California, emerges as a series of eco-conscious pavilions that rest lightly on the land.
May 17, 2016