During a recent trip to City Hall, I stumbled upon pLAnning, the quarterly newsletter of the LA City Planning Department. In this edition, Simon Pastucha, a City Planner with the Urban Design Studio, presents the City’s newly-issued Citywide Design Guidelines and Small Lot Design Guidelines. Both of the images included in the article are of Modative projects: The Cullen Street Art District Homes + Artis @ Echo Park!
Modative contributed project images and participated in review sessions for the creation of the Small Lot Design Guidelines. In fact, both Cullen and Artis were featured on the cover. We are proud that two of our projects have been selected by the Urban Design Studio as being representative of thoughtfully-designed projects that contribute to the urban fabric of Los Angeles.
Cullen on the front page of the newsletter
Artis on the back page of the newsletter
Modative has created our own Small Lot Subdivision Guide, a "how-to" for developers interested in Small Lot Subdivision. Check it out and contact us with any questions.
Congratulations to Summer and Jesus for their recent engagement! While we'd love to take credit for sparking their love, Summer and Jesus met while attending the University of Oregon. (However, being the only two non-USC grads at Modative, their common love of the Ducks, I’m sure, brought them even closer together.) Jesus has been with Modative for 2.5 years and Summer 1.5 years. Here’s to an exciting year ahead!
Summer + Jesus in Seattle right before she said yes!
Last year we had the pleasure of having Enoch Sears from the Business of Architecture visit our office and conduct an on-camera interview. We've always really appreciated Enoch's approach of focusing on the business side of architecture, something that has been a vital part of our practice. So, last week, Enoch published the interview on his website and we are very happy with the results. It's an open and honest depiction of the critical issues we've faced in the last few years, which include (taken from Business of Architecture's website):
Promoting a hands-on approach for staff.
Creating a process to help your clients believe in your brand.
Learning to say “No” and staying focused on your firm’s goals.
The benefits of showing your clients an open and honest process.
A design-driven website vs. an informative website.
If you're interested, you can see the interview (and a transcript) on the Business of Architecture site - THE SECRETS TO A SUCCESSFUL ARCHITECTURE FIRM: INSIDE THE MODERN ARCHITECTURE FIRM MODATIVE
On October 17, Modative was fortunate enough to be featured in a Fox News National TV story on small lot subdivison in Los Angeles. Christian and I really enjoyed spending several hours with producer Laura Prabucki and her team, touring a few of our projects and conducting interviews with the two of us as well as a few of the residents that live in the projects we designed.
The story isn't really about architecture, but rather the larger impact that this trend has on society and the economy. We were really happy with the final cut and are thankful to the the residents that made themselves available for tours and interviews. The story was featured on Fox News (national) several times on October 17 and has made a few appearances on local news affiliates around the country. If you weren't able to catch it on TV, click the link to watch it online - Tiny homes trend: Narrow houses built on smaller lots
Projects featured in the story include 726 California Ave (project in the opening live shot in Venice), Cullen Street Homes (project with the open wood stair in the living room) , Fay 2X Homes (interior shot above) and Fay 3X Homes (project under construction in the video).
We are happy to announce that Modative is growing up! With nine new architecture projects this year, we felt it was time to take the next step and award some promotions. Krystal Návar, one of Modative’s earliest employees, is now a seasoned project manager. We’d like to thank Krystal for steering multiple projects in the office and raising a little one without even breaking a sweat. We’re also excited to announce Jesus Fernandez has accepted a new role as project manager and seems to be enjoying it. Lastly, it’s about time we officially introduce our newest employees: Katherine, Summer, Allison + Shaun. Modative is now officially a team of ten (plus two office dogs).
photo by Ivonne Maria Photography
On Sunday, July 14, The Los Angeles Times featured an article on the front page about the growing popularity of Small Lot Subdivision in Los Angeles. We were lucky enough to be included in the article along with Planet Home Living (our client on the Artis @Echo Park project) and the Heyday Partnership.
Sunday Los Angeles Times Front Page.
And the Rest of the article. The images are from our Artis @ Echo Park project.
Modative has been focused on Small Lot Subdivision since our founding in 2006 and we are glad to see this innovative ordinance gaining in popularity in Los Angeles (and hopefully some other cities soon).
To read the article online - http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-small-lot-homes-20130714,0,563473.story
To learn more about developing Small Lot Subdivision Projects, we recommend downloading our free guide here.
We also have a free Small Lot Subdivision Information Packet.
A list of Modative's Small Lot Subdivison Projects.
Fortunately, 2012 has been a very busy year for us, which is why there's been little time for blog updates. So we thought we'd let you know about four important things that happened at Modative in 2012:
1. Cullen Art District Homes Sold
Our three home, small lot subdivision project on Cullen Street sold very quickly at the following prices.
Home A (Front): $650,000
Home B (Middle): $650,000
Home C (Rear): $675,000
The Cullen Street project was initiated by our client during a very uncertain economic time so it's great to see this project's ultimate success.
2. Modern Homes Under Construction
We currently have four residential projects under construction:
A three-home small lot subdivision in Venice, CA. This project is currently wrapping up stucco, siding and interior finishes and should be complete by March 2013.
Home A along California Ave. Stucco and siding going in on 12.21.12.
Home C from the alley.
Construction of Phase I (8 homes) is underway on this 15-home small lot subdivision in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Artis is currently in framing and the first set of homes should be complete in the spring of 2013. Artis @ Echo Park was posted on Curbed Los Angeles earlier this week.
First floor framing on 12.21.12.
Phase I includes building the first eight homes.
A single family residence in Culver City, CA that overlooks a public park.
Three townhouse apartments. This is Phase II of III of the Fay Ave Art District Dwellings (a future small lot subdivision). Phase I, the Fay 2X Homes was complete in late 2011, featured in the Los Angeles Times in February 2012, and are still occupied by the original renters. Here's a bit more info on the design of the Fay 3X Homes. This phase is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2013. Also of note, Modative Build is the contractor on this project. And we will be building even more of our projects as we push into 2013.
Rendering of 3X homes (left) next to the existing 2X homes (right).
Framing started at Fay 3X Homes on 12.19.12
And this is what it looked like a day later on 12.20.12
3. New Projects in 2012
2012 brought a lot of great new projects into the office. Here are some highlights:
We signed up this project in the first week of 2012; a great sign for the year. Cardiff Cubes is a three-home small lot subdivison near downtown Culver City. This project is approved by planning and is currently in the permitting phase. Construction start expected in spring of 2013.
As mentioned above, this project is under construction.
Venice Boulevard Live/Work - Eight live/work apartments in Los Angeles. The likely future Modative and Modative Build world headquarters.
A four-home small lot subdivison in Los Angeles inspired by the nearby aviation and hangars of the Santa Monica Airport.
A single family spec home in Venice, CA. Scheduled to start construction in a few months.
A single family spec home in Venice, CA. Scheduled to start construction in spring or summer of 2013.
A single family residence in Mountain View, Ca (that's up North). Scheduled to start construction in 2013.
4. New People in 2012
The new projects enabled us to add three new staff to our existing team of four, bringing our total to seven. We were very happy to welcome Dena, Jesus & Jesse to our team this year.
We didn't even ask them to smile. They did it on their own because they love working here.
Happy Holidays. See you in 2013!
Earlier today, USC posted an article by Allison Engel on our firm, USC Architecture Alums Make a Big Splash by Going Small
. It goes into some detail on our background, founding, Small Lot Subdivison
projects and surviving the recession. The three Modative founders
) all attended USC's School of Architecture
and feel very honored to be featured in this piece by the University.
Modative's founding partners in front of the Fay 2X Homes. Photo by Dietmar Quistorf
Many thanks to Allison and Dietmar for coming out to interview and photograph us for this piece.
We've had a busy year here at Modative and it's time to add to our team. If this looks like the position for you, please apply. If you think someone you know may be interested, please pass it along.
What you'll be working on
You'll be working under a project manager on design and construction documents (using ArchiCAD) on a few modern residential projects in the Los Angeles Area. You will gain extensive hands-on experience in what it takes to put a modern building together. This is a full-time position (40 hours/week), but is temporary, lasting about six months. If the project load in our office was to remain the same, this position could become a permanent position.
1. Must have ArchiCAD (not AutoCAD) experience and be ready to be productive using this software from day one. Our office is currently using ArchiCAD 15 & 16.
2. Degree in architecture
3. One to three years of professional experience in the architecture field using ArchiCAD for construction documents.
4. Only persons currently residing in and able to legally work in the US will be considered. No international applicants for this position please.
This is a a very focused position. Applications not meeting the outlined criteria will be disregarded. Since this position is temporary and needs to be filled quickly, preference will be given candidates currently residing in the Los Angeles area or those able to relocate very quickly and on a short-term basis.
How to apply
Send us a resume, portfolio and whatever else makes you look good to email@example.com . We're too busy at this time to take calls on this position. Please keep your email attachment sizes reasonable (under 5 MB or send us a link to download).
To avoid spam, and test of your ability to follow directions, please include "Modative Junior Position" in the subject line.
Applications will be accepted until 11:59pm PST on Monday, 08.27.12. Applicants must be available for an in-person interview on either 08.30.12, 08.31.12 or 09.04.12. The job will start the week of 09.10.12.
Click here to see this job posting on our site.
As we started design work on phase two of the Fay Ave project earlier this year, we had to keep in mind that the project’s overall mission was still the same: affordable, interesting, modern housing that pencils out as rental apartments or for-sale Small Lot Subdivision homes.
Keeping that in mind, whenever we start a new project, we like to take a fresh look at things. This is no different for a phased project. So, we hit the ground running, establishing the following new project goals.
One of the best things about a phased development is that we were able to analyze and learn from round one (Fay 2X Homes) and incorporate the new knowledge into phase two. Outside of internally looking at the project through a critical eye, we also received feedback from potential renters of the first phase. The Developer and Modative both talked openly with prospective tenants about what they liked and, more importantly, would like to see improved. The responses were overwhelmingly positive, but as problem solvers, we focused on the areas needing improvement. Slightly larger bedrooms, increased storage, more yard space, and a master suite topped the list of most-desired improvements.
For us, the project working in a spreadsheet is just as important as it working in architectural plans. Phase two wasn’t going to happen if it didn’t make financial sense.
To keep costs down, we knew that we only wanted to add square footage where we needed it. Most of the spacial concerns were in the private rooms, so we knew that the additional area should be on the second floor. We accomplished this by cantilevering above (front unit) and bridging across (rear units) the carports. This move shifted the spacial balance, which was essentially 50/50 public/private in phase one, to lean towards the private space. We offset this shift by connecting the ground level living areas to large (by urban standards), usable outdoor spaces, creating a nice indoor/outdoor flow.
Upgrading one of the bedrooms to a master suite was another high priority item. This meant a larger bedroom area, an upgraded bathroom and a walk-in closet. At the minimum, we wanted the upgraded bathroom to have a dual sink, but we were also able to fit a larger shower and a linen closet. We also placed the wet walls back-to-back, a move that will make the plumbing subcontractor very happy.
So, after adding all this area to the bedroom level, we crunched the numbers and found that the master bedrooms are 32% larger and the secondary bedrooms are 11% larger in phase two than phase one. While the walk-in closet naturally increased the master storage, we also grew the storage in the second bedroom by over 50%.
We kept the elements people liked from phase one: simple forms, interesting facade treatments and a cost-effective building design.
Phase two has three units and three door and window types, thus earning it the nickname 3X Homes, which is a spin-off of the 2X Homes concept of phase one. Construction on this phase will start in the fall of 2012 with construction completion scheduled for spring 2013.
Post by Michael Scott. Contributors to this post include Krystal Návar, Derek Leavitt and Christian Návar.