A Tale of Two Buildings

Withee Malcolm takes on urban infill in Los Angeles, California with two communities and an amenity-rich design approach

By Sergio Flores

Two new market rate apartment buildings designed by Withee Malcolm Architects (WMA), one in Hollywood and one in Pasadena, Calif., are designed to suit very specific markets. While both multifamily communities include some of the same amenities, each building has a distinct contextual concept within their urban infill environments.

Located in the heart of Hollywood, The Highland Residences is a six-story, 30,000-square-foot development comprised of 76 apartments in 22 unit types, 2,500 square feet of ground floor retail, 3,000 square feet of residential lobby, a tech supported co-working space, a fitness facility, a ground floor bicycle shop, parking on two subgrade levels, and a pet park.

“At The Highland Residences, the pool and rooftop lounge are spectacular, see-and-be-seen places with amazing views,” said Dan Withee, Founding Partner of WMA. He added, “The courtyard is the antidote to that—a quiet, well-appointed spot for relaxing.”

With single-family homes at the rear of the site and the busy street in front, the project’s U-shaped form oriented the broad facade of the building toward Highland Avenue and allowed the side arms to step back from the residential neighborhood behind the development. An open courtyard and planting along the rear of the property provide an amenity for the residents and additional privacy for the near neighbors. Modern details reference the midcentury classic homes in the nearby hills and bold faces of the building stand out from the eclectic context of the wider neighborhood.

Withee stated, “Currently, it is the tallest building on Highland, although there are other, larger buildings on Sunset, which is a half block away.”

Principal of WMA, Dirk Thelen commented, “Inside, the expansive glazing floods the apartments with natural light, while the city views allow residents to feel that they are part of the Hollywood scene without leaving home.”

Working closely with Lennar’s development manager, the collaboration inspired the clear visions for the project. “With a background in hospitality, he wanted to integrate elements of a boutique hotel into the design, and worked closely with the team to realize this concept,” said Withee.

“In Hollywood, there’s always been a showy aspect to development, it’s still the ‘entertainment capital of the world.’ With the resurgence of development, there’s a demand for standout projects, ‘notice me’ buildings that push the architectural envelope,” said Thelen.

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