I went and saw a lecture by one of the members of MAD Architects the other week. Overall I found their work a bit hit or miss. They seemed to operate at their best when working on more intimate scales and close to the ground. Which is exactly what their new residential/mixed-use project in LA is. They didn’t present it at the lecture, but I like it.
The view as you (would – it’s not yet built) approach tells a lot of the story, the podium of vines and succulents and greenery rising above a transparent facade of shops. From the back, a path wends from the ground up to the top of the verdant podium, atop which perch a cluster of white villas. Balconies and windows set into the greenery let you know that these houses have, of a fashion, a basement, set deep into the podium. It’s living space all the way up and down.
But it’s the courtyard, hidden at the centre of the project, where the full story unfolds. There is a gaggle of housing types here, from townhouses to villas to studios to condos, and they all coalesce and interact around this courtyard. There’s an intricate interplay of forms here that create little niches and pockets of space for balconies and porches. Each unit has it’s unique identity while in dialogue with the greater whole. It looks fun and playful.
This isn’t ready to break ground until October, so I won’t be checking it out on my upcoming trip to LA, but in future years, when it’s done, I’ll definitively swing on by.