8513 Santa Monica is a mixed-use project that takes advantage of West Hollywood's city incentives to provide for retail and commercial spaces as well as urban living units. The project site is an infill lot that fronts Santa Monica Boulevard at the intersection of La Cienega Boulevard. The site is a highly visible property within the city, and the design attempts to present a public urban face to the street and the intersection while providing for private retreats for the users of the residential living units on the upper floors.
The building is designed as a four-story structure with the lower two levels occupied by parking and commercial space and the upper two floors comprising the living units conceived as urban lofts. The two parking areas are on different levels. Each area is accessed from opposite ends of the site with the commercial parking accessed from Santa Monica Boulevard at the front and the more private second level residential parking accessed from the rear alley. This arrangement allows the residential users to have a more private parking area that is separate and secure from the commercial use areas.
Because the site is on a major urban intersection, the upper floor loft units are designed with privacy as a major concept. Each loft unit has its own semi-enclosed courtyard that is large enough to use as an outdoor room and provides for natural light and ventilation to affect the inner areas of the unit. The courtyards serve as private open spaces that give some respite to the noise and activity of the street in lieu of the typical approach of providing balconies on the exterior that overlook the street.
The stairway from the sidewalk level serves both the commercial areas and the private residences above. This stair also activates the front facade of the building and provides for a view up into the central residential courtyard on the third level to connect the street visually to the upper residential floors and provide an active façade for this marquee intersection. The open side of the building that faces the intersection is also designed to address the intersection by articulating the building form to break down the massing and provide an active side elevation with visual and material interest.
The exterior claddings and materials are conceived to be virtually maintenance free as well as thermally efficient. The metal cladding system has in integrated layer of insulation that will form a virtually continuous exterior envelope separate from the interior systems that together will increase the performance of the building over and above what is required by the codes. Glazed areas will be of high performance glass and will be shaded with trellis structures where they will be effective. The project intends to be a modern building in its design, use and performance.