Sight lines

Nick Myall
Monday 02 Jul 2018

An exterior dominated by bronze perforated aluminum and smooth white cement board panels sets this building planned for LA apart

SPF:architects (SPF:a) have released initial renderings for Harper17, a four-story condominium planned a block south of Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, USA. Developed by Malibu-based Christina Corporation, the new 17-unit complex will replace an existing two-story apartment building on the corner of Fountain and North Harper Avenue. The new renderings detail the project’s most distinctive feature: an exterior dominated by bronze perforated aluminum geometrically arranged against smooth white cement board panels.

“The panel system gives the building a strong style profile, but ultimately its most important function is programmatic,” says Zoltan E. Pali, FAIA, SPF:a’s founder and design principal. “The precise way we patterned the aluminum and cement panels defines and separates the individual living spaces, resulting in a feel that’s more like a home amidst a community and less like the ubiquitous and repetitious apartment or condo compound.”

SPF:a began work on the project in 2016, being brought on to re-design the structure after the previous designs did not capitalize on the full available entitlement. The parcel’s entitlement allows for up to 17 units to be built, yet previous designs were only able to implement 14 units into their plan. After some creative planning with respect to the parking layout, SPF:a was able to successfully increase the unit count to 17, while still adhering to the city’s stringent planning requirements.

Despite the increase in density, all but three of the apartments at Harper will be corner units. Half of the structure has been set back 30 feet to create a raised “front yard” for the residents, while a second courtyard sits inside the centre of the structure. This unique configuration allowed for more stand-alone spaces, unflanked by other apartments on either side. Additionally, units on the top floor will each have private rooftop terraces, while all others will have access to individual decks and patios, creating an abundant access to nature rare for this type of construction and further contributing to each condo’s singular feel.  

First floor apartments have also been enhanced: isolated and with dedicated above-ground parking, these typically less desirable spaces eschew the traditional condo format, resulting in a feel more akin to a single-family home. Additional parking for upper-story residents will be distributed across a single subterranean level.

Work on Harper17 recently entered the final design development phase, with construction expected to begin in spring of 2019.


Nick Myall

News editor

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