Completed in spring 2017, this 33 unit LEED Gold apartment building, sits on an interstitial street in Brentwood, one block from Wilshire Boulevard. With its sculptural and colorful dimension, it celebrates the iconoclastic spirit of Los Angeles.
The design pools various ecologies from around the site, specifically the Pacific Ocean in neighboring Santa Monica, the ubiquitous LA sunshine, and the lofty palm trees. These natural elements are reflected in the design, from the undulating curves of the exterior that resemble a tidal current, to the bright yellow stucco of the Goshen-facing facade, and the thin aluminum struts that mimic the palm trees lining the site. The alternating blue and white glass at the balcony rails emphasizes the tidal theme.
This assembly of color, reflectivity and curvature help forge a dynamic connection between the street life and that of the building. The main façade, fronting a sloping parking lot of a behemoth Ralph’s grocery store, seems to subtly shift and change as one walks or rides past it.
Highlighting an unusual painterly aspect, the facades explore the boundaries between art and architecture. The Mondrian-inspired luminous cavities that scale the two stucco-clad shafts flanking the entry, seem to vibrate chromatically, especially at dusk.
They also light up at night, with LED fixtures, providing a soothing lantern-like glow to those exiting the Supermarket. In a playful riff, these multicolored cavities mimic the car lights of commuters, connecting the mobile street life with the vertical circulation routes of the structure.
Forging a further engagement with the street, ample balcony spaces expand the interior with their large 4-panel sliding doors, they give a sense of enclosure due to the addition of vertical aluminum posts and white frosted low-iron glass.
Finally, a living wall at the rear courtyard reintroduces the same colored niches, only here they are deepened, and used for people to sit and for plants to grow. This outdoor tableau challenges our notion of where painting and sculpture end, and architecture begins.
Official name of the project: The Tides Brentwood
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Budget: approximately 20 million dollars for total costs, hard and soft.
Project end date: May 1, 2017
Client: Pluto Partners, Inc.
Architect of Record: Plus Architects
Design Architect: Valerie Schweitzer Architects
Landscape Architect: S.Q.L.A.
Structural: Masoud Dejban and Associates
Mechanical consultant: Air plus Consulting Engineers
Photo Credits: Dan Arnold, Inc. and Josh White Productions
Valerie F. Schweitzer Architects aims to construct inventive spaces that are not just visually arresting, but communicate a central purpose. That purpose might be the light-drenched transporting dimensions of an artist’s studio, or the playfulness of a Los Angeles apartment building.
With her small team, Schweitzer creates bold structures that attempt the shoring up of the human spirit. Principal V.F. Schweitzer’s residential buildings are also efforts to improve and integrate the fabric of the surrounding streets. With her additional training as a painter, Schweitzer integrates textiles, color and lighting into a synchronized assemblage, widening the application of architecture. Schweitzer studied architecture at Princeton University for her Bachelors of Art degree, and UCLA for her Masters of Architecture, receiving honors at both institutions. Her firm is based in New York City.