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Monterey Apartments

Warren Techentin Architecture

Los Angeles, California, United States

July 2021


Warren Techentin (Architect)


Andy Alexander & Associated (Structural Engineer)


4Site Real Estate


Eric Staudenmaier


Multifamily housing, in the midst of the city’s housing crisis, necessitates efficient, resourceful, and imaginative solutions. The building required a design solution that would resolve the numerous constraints on its massing while harkening to the existing building culture of the neighborhood. Its adjacency to Arroyo Seco Park compelled the organization of program such that residents could easily view and conveniently access this as an amenity.


The project is located in northeast Los Angeles, an area that has experienced its own share of consequences from the city’s constricted housing supply and affordability issues, in Hermon, a neighborhood adjacent to the popular Highland Park Commercial district. It is adjacent to the Arroyo Seco (Spanish for “dry gulch”) a seasonal river featuring a recreational area with an extensive network of parks and trails. There is a strong building tradition of Victorian and Arts and Crafts homes in the area. The site constraints -- Arroyo Seco Park to the Northwest and close proximity of power lines on two sides of the property -- would also impact the form of the building significantly.


Formally, the resulting massing was required to step down in height so as not to visually encroach on the park. The facade was also pushed back to avoid the power lines. The resulting form carried a subtle similarity to the roofs of the Victorian houses at Heritage Square nearby, which piqued our interest in the idea of the Victorian painted surface. The main building material, Hardi Board Shingles, was in-part inspired by these shingled roofs and their capacity for formal dynamism and vibrant color.

Programmatically, units are organized as co-living, a housing type which emerged recently as a potential partial remedy to our lack of housing. Co-living hybridizes two trends which have been increasing in popularity: communal living and the affordability of micro-units. It fosters a dense living experience which promotes social interaction between roommates, and provides an alternative to the loneliness of micro-units. This building seeks to organize these relationships into 13 units, each with 4 small studio bedrooms attached to a common kitchen/living area. Variation occurs as the building navigates the particularities of the site. Residents are provided with furniture and utilities, alongside group amenities such as a gym, pool, and spa. A backyard BBQ deck capitalizes upon the adjacency to the Arroyo Seco by overlooking the park and nearby tennis courts.

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