Bestor Architecture, Blackbirds, Echo Park, Los Angeles
Blackbirds is a development of eighteen houses embedded in the hills of Echo Park; a progressive solution for high-quality dense housing in a city with little available land. The homes range from 1,200 to 1,900 square feet and are built around a living street; a central courtyard that comprises both landscape and parking areas, and serves as a stage for larger community functions. The placement of the houses in the hills mimics the older wooden houses of the area and deploys a strategy of “stealth density,” combining several houses into a single house-shaped volume. For instance, two free-standing houses are connected by flashing and the roofline creates the illusion of one house mass. Three houses, whose separation is masked, creates the illusion of two houses. This conceals the density of units by maintaining the neighborhood shape and landscape across the site. The community is a blend of private, semi-private, and public space, and promotes a sense of neighborhood by encouraging interaction and exchange.