WeHo’s Design Review Subcommittee Reviews Four New Projects

The Design Review subcommittee of West Hollywood’s Planning Commission gave generally positive reviews to five proposed apartment and condominium projects during its Thursday night meeting.

1201-1207 N. Detroit

A four-story, ten-unit townhouse apartment project with ground level parking received high praise from the commission. Replacing the community garden at 1201 N. Detroit St., at Lexington, and the adjacent single-family home at 1207 North Detroit, the project is being built by Michael Soleimani and its architect is AKA Architecture + Design. The boxy, contemporary design is made up of three separate buildings that are connected on the upper floors so it looks like one building, a feature the commissioners especially liked. Owned by SHP Capital, the project, as Soleimani described it, is an attempt to transition from the taller buildings on La Brea Avenue (one block east) to the two and three-story buildings on Formosa Avenue (one block west).

design review subcommittee, west hollywood planning commission
1201 and 1207 N. Detroit (Architect A.K.A.)

8116 Norton

A three-story, eight-unit apartment building with subterranean parking at 8116 Norton Ave., just west of Crescent Heights Boulevard, will replace a large, two-story house that has been divided into several apartments. Because it sits on a deep but narrow lot (50 feet wide by 150 feet deep), the apartments will be long and slender, yet still feel spacious. Commissioner Sue Buckner said the contemporary design was innovative and made “maximum use of the lot.” Owned by Drexel Luxury Homes of Los Angeles, the project is from the architects at the Inglewood-based Aero Collective.

8116 Norton (Architect Aero Collective)

1123 N. Formosa

A five-unit, three-story townhouse condominium project with subterranean parking at 1123 N. Formosa Ave., just north of Santa Monica Boulevard, received praise for being “sophisticated,” as Commissioner John Altschul phrased it. Replacing a single-family home, the project with a contemporary design by Los Angeles-based Open Architects was previously reviewed at the subcommittee’s April 13 meeting but returned with some minor revisions to the front façade and front yard planter. Owned by 1123 Formosa LLC, this project is scheduled to go to the full Planning Commission on June 15.

1123 N. Formosa (Open Architects)

1030 Sierra Bonita

A five-unit, three-story townhouse condominium project with underground parking at 1030 N. Sierra Bonita Ave., just south of Santa Monica Boulevard, features third-floor balconies (called “pocket gardens”) with a spiral staircase leading to private rooftop decks. Replacing a single-family home, the project by Los Angeles-based TCS Architects has a contemporary design. The commissioners liked the front façade, but Commissioner David Aghaei suggested the rear façade looked “monolithic” and should be broken up. Similarly, Altschul felt the side façades looked bland. Owned by 1030 Sierra Bonita LLC, the project likely will return to the subcommittee in a few months for further feedback.

1030 N. Sierra Bonita (TCS Architects)

1011 Sierra Bonita

TCS Architects also designed the five-unit, three-story townhouse condominium project with underground parking at 1011 Sierra Bonita, just south of Santa Monica Boulevard. Featuring a contemporary design and layout that closely mimics its neighbor a few lots down at 1030 Sierra Bonita, this project also offers third-floor balconies with spiral staircases leading to private rooftop decks. The primary difference is that louvered panels partially enclose the spiral staircases in this project, while the spiral staircases at 1030 Sierra Bonita are fully exposed. Owned by 1011 Sierra Bonita LLC, the project will replace a single-family home and will feature at 30-foot set back from the sidewalk, allowing for a large front yard patio area. Because the adjacent properties are not as tall, Altschul suggested the architects work to minimize the impact of project’s height. This project will likely return in a few months for more feedback.

1011 N. Sierra Bonita (TCS Architects)
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Design Critic
Design Critic
3 years ago

Town house project By Michael Soleimani looks beautiful. Bound to beautify the east-side.

Development Woes
Development Woes
3 years ago

Victor: The project was appealed because it violated aspects of the code relating to compatibility. Arguments were based on: 19.46.050 General Design Standards 19.06.020 Residential Zoning Districts 19.060.040 Referencing Exemplary Design G-08.050 Multi Family Housing Guidelines It was short and sweet. The council agreed with the arguments and granted the appeal The architect was happy as he was not in agreement with the manner in which he had been led by the Urban Designer at the time. It was a win for the neighborhood. Not sure what your goal is but perhaps you could figure out how to craft a… Read more »

Larry Block
Larry Block
3 years ago

The city is filled with 100 year old buildings and finally the economy and investors see promise in West Hollywood. You don’t see these ‘tear downs’ in Santa Monica. The question is not which buildings are torn down but rather is what is taking its place an improvement. Improvement can mean ‘aesthetics’, or ‘public benefit- affordable housing’ , or ‘pubic-benefit- increase housing capacity’ or ‘public benefit- additional parking’ or ‘public benefit – increase tax revenues’. I’m wondering the opposite questions, which buildings would have been better off left standing.

Victor
Victor
3 years ago

Development Woes, you need to read the act. Compatibility is subjective and cannot be used to stop projects.

kab1200
kab1200
3 years ago

I would save Palihouse, it is a great building. I would also save the brand new building on the corner of King’s and Santa Monica Blvd. Great design. I would save the building that houses Tender Greens.I would save Restoration Hardware on Melrose. I would save a lot of buildings.

Celestine
Celestine
3 years ago

Cathy raises an interesting question – which recent building would you fight for to save if threatened with demolition? Sad but none come to my mind. First I liked the modern boxes popping up here and there because they were different from the little bungalows but now I’m not so sure anymore. I think what I like the least about these new designs are the arthritic looking plants.

Development Woes
Development Woes
3 years ago

Thanks for making that point Victor. There are several attorneys on Design Review. Perhaps DR and the entire PC could become become more familiar with Neighborhood Compatibility, a significant but often overlooked aspect of the code. To date the only appeal granted against a development was based on lack of compatibility. The project is now under construction with a significant reduction in size and a completely different design inspired by the original early Spanish Colonial Revival structure on the property.

Shiela Lightfoot got this concept and was unconvinced by “projects that were designed for opportunities rather than neighborhoods”.

Cathy
Cathy
3 years ago

I have been asking this question for the past 5+ years…..Name ONE building in West Hollywood, built within the last 10-15 years that if threatened with demolition you would fight to save?
I am just curious…..

Victor
Victor
3 years ago

Commissioner Aghaei is an attorney and should read the California Houing Accountability Act. If the project meets the General Plan and Zoning Code requirements the City cannot deny it. The Design Review Committee is toothless.

Development Woes
Development Woes
3 years ago

Detroit looks promising. The other four seem to be poster children for the Mc Mansions that LA rejected primarily in Paul Koretz district. Their progeny has now slipped the border disguising themselves as multi family projects designed as and for opportunities rather than for neighborhoods. There does not appear to be discriminating input at this design review and the comments are pointless. Don’t these folks want to be part of something meaningful? Community Development has a right to expect and demand a higher caliber of design and aesthetic. Rearrange the flow and timing of discourse with developers touting their potential… Read more »

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
3 years ago

I’m sorry, but these all look the same? Seriously? What they seem to include in environmentally friendly designs (likely somewhat code preferred), made to allow more interior lighting (which takes a certain kind of uneven walls). They all include greenery and most have outdoor space for units. The level on rejectionist negative discourse seen across the board on these threads is ludicrous. I can’t say I’m a big fan of all these or modern design (a Spanish late 20s two story house I recently sold has been turned in the exterior to a Hollywood Hills current style modern looking place… Read more »

Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
3 years ago

@Jerome … I’ve tried the same obvious and any input about a desision by a panel of radically different types of people, with only one thing in common ….. none are professional bulding professionals, let alone with experience with apartments or other design basics of the type of structure being built. Often, the demand changes, all are a compromise of design by committee (proven committee design ALWAYS results in a less attractive and or functionality. (and that is with all professional architects, building designers et al) EVERY SINGLE ARTIST RENDERING​ THE PLANNING DEMANDED SPECIFIC CHANGES, ALL ENDED UP MORE UGLY,… Read more »

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