New Carver Apartments
by Maxime Moreau
Located on a corner site at 17th and Hope streets in downtown Los Angeles, the project proposes a 6-story apartment building that includes approximately 87 efficiency units of senior affordable housing, community recreation room, communal dining room, kitchen, laundry, and administrative spaces. The site is adjacent to a freeway on-ramp connecting to the 10/110 Freeway interchange and is within blocks of the Staples Convention Center to the west and the California Hospital Medical Center to the north. The transitional character of its location at the edge of downtown and adjacency to the freeway requires the project address environmental factors such as safety, noise, and privacy.
The apartment building is composed of 5 stories of residential housing and public spaces above a ground floor podium containing the main lobby, administrative support spaces, and parking. Above the ground floor, the residential units are arranged radially around a centralized circular courtyard open to the sky.
The trapezoidal fan shape of the individual units provides a versatile sequence of spaces within. A kitchen vestibule looks out over the circular walkway and open courtyard, emphasizing connection to the public center and fostering social interaction among the tenants. A sense of security and safety is established through this openness and experience of community. Moving outward toward the exterior face of the unit, views to the city and usable space for living are maximized, providing privacy without encouraging isolation. Communal public areas similarly emphasize the strong connection between exterior and interior by providing views overlooking the street and skyline while opening onto the interior courtyard within. Overall, the organization of spaces minimizes blind corners and dark areas while maximizing light, visibility, and equity of tenant experience.
Through its distinctive form and organization, the New Carver Apartments will create a singular, recognizable identity both within the community and larger urban context. In contrast to the surrounding neighborhood which many would regard as inhospitable to residential life, the New Carver Apartments succeeds in its mission to create satisfying living accommodations for people who are often shunted into anonymous, leftover spaces in the City. Its completion will reinforce Skid Row Housing Trust’s reputation as a developer of projects with ambitious social and architectural aspirations – projects that provide high-quality and innovative affordable housing that make people feel proud about where they live.
Text and images courtesy of Michael Maltzan Architecture