K2LA at 685 New Hampshire – DFH Architects
- Written by: Tom Faunce
- Produced by: Holland Wegner
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Completed in spring 2016, K2LA at 685 New Hampshire is the second phase of Century West Partners’ K2LA development. Located in Los Angeles, K2LA is a three-building, work-live-play urban development project. The three buildings consist of a combined 478 units of luxury multifamily apartments with amenities such as fitness centers, business centers, rooftop spas and outdoor decks with grilling areas. For 685 New Hampshire, Century West Partners turned to DFH Architects and partners David Hibbert and James Fischer for the integrative design of the facility.
K2LA is one of Century West Partners’ first development projects in Los Angeles. The approach to K2LA has been to create an affordable living space while still providing a high-end lifestyle with amenities and location. In an effort to make all three buildings stand out, wood paneling was used on the exterior to accent the modern design. “All three contain different but similar paneling design,” says James Fischer, project architect for 685 New Hampshire. “It’s a way to differentiate the buildings but still tie them together with a common theme.”
A new kind of building
K2LA at 685 New Hampshire became a revolutionary project for the city of Los Angles. At seven stories and 177 apartment units, K2LA is considered Type III-A modified construction due to the fact that the building modifies what current building codes allow in terms of height. “Phase one was the second project in Los Angeles to do this modification so we were still feeling it out with the city as far as what they would allow,” recalls Fischer. “It has now become standard as far as codes allowing us to do this. That allowed for phases two and three to move pretty smoothly.”
While no LEED certification was pursued for K2LA, every aspect of the project is in compliance with CALGreen codes. “By adding up the points that it was eligible for we could have pursued LEED certification,” Fischer explains.
The property that K2LA at 685 New Hampshire sits on was previously a surface parking lot. During the initial design phase, it was not known that all three buildings would be built together. “We didn’t start phases two and three until we were in construction with phase one,” recalls Fischer. “The sites for phases two and three are significantly larger. It is apparent due to the courtyards in both buildings being approximately 40 feet bigger, which changed the building configuration and allowed for a large courtyard with a pool and spa.”
A different type of firm
DFH Architects is an award-winning architectural practice founded by principal David Hibbert. The firm strives to blend artistic vision and sustainable design sensitivity with community values and sound project economics. DFH offers full architectural services from entitlements to construction administration.
With the ability to perform the design and construction documents in-house, DFH consulted with outside resources for K2LA on standard aspects such as structural, electrical, mechanical, plumbing and civil engineering. “We also consulted with the manufacturers of the panels that went on the façade,” says Fischer.
There are several criteria that DFH looks for when considering outside consultants. “A major factor is whether we have worked with them in the past and if the relationship was successful,” says Fischer. “We also look at how much experience they have with the type of work the project involves. It’s also a matter of cost. We want competitive pricing but are not necessarily going to work with someone just because they are the lowest bidder.”
Best known for its work in the Santa Monica area, DFH has worked with several high-profile clients, with projects including Universal Music Headquarters, the Arboretum Courtyard Office Complex, Whole Foods Market, the remodel of the historic Mayfair Theater and numerous mixed buildings in the area.
As a result of its experience in the Santa Monica area, the office has gained a reputation for its effectiveness in successfully dealing with challenging entitlement processing situations and its ability to realistically evaluate planning, zoning and building code opportunities and transform them into exciting designs.
K2LA at 685 New Hampshire, along with the entire development, has been welcomed with open arms by the local community. “We’ve had community meetings on all three of the buildings and have not had one bit of opposition,” says Fischer. “All three buildings have leased very quickly as well.”
By adding K2LA at 685 New Hampshire to its portfolio, DFH Architects has continued its tradition of incorporating innovative design into healthy sustainable places where people work, live and play.
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