architecture blog

Modative Architecture's 2012 Year in Review

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Wed, Dec 26, 2012 @ 06:12 AM

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

Cullen Art District Small Lot Subdivision

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

Small Lot Subdivision Los Angeles Plans

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:

726 California Ave

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.

Venice Small Lot Architects Modern

Rendering

modern home venice architects 726 CA

Home A along California Ave. Stucco and siding going in on 12.21.12.

Venice small lot architects modative 2012

Home C from the alley.

 

Artis @ Echo Park

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.

Artis @ Echo Park Modern Architects

Rendering

Echo Park Modern Architects 2012

First floor framing on 12.21.12.

Artis Echo Park small lot subdivision 2012

Phase I includes building the first eight homes.


Roberts Ave Residence

A single family residence in Culver City, CA that overlooks a public park.

modern culver city architects

Rendering

culver city residential architects contractors

slab pour


Fay 3X Homes

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.

fay 3x modern home architects

Rendering of 3X homes (left) next to the existing 2X homes (right).

Fay 3X modern los angeles apartment framing 2012

Framing started at Fay 3X Homes on 12.19.12

modern apartmnet architects fay 3x framing 1

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:

Cardiff Cubes

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.

 

cardiff cubes small lot subdivision los angeles

 

Fay 3X Homes

As mentioned above, this project is under construction.

fay 3x homes culver city arts district

 

Venice Boulevard Live/Work - Eight live/work apartments in Los Angeles. The likely future Modative and Modative Build world headquarters.

venice blvd modern live work los angeles architects

 

Ocean Park Hangar Homes

A four-home small lot subdivison in Los Angeles inspired by the nearby aviation and hangars of the Santa Monica Airport.

santa monica modern home architect ocean park

 

Milwood Avenue Residence

A single family spec home in Venice, CA. Scheduled to start construction in a few months.

Venice Modern Residence Architects

 

Vernon Avenue Residence

A single family spec home in Venice, CA. Scheduled to start construction in spring or summer of 2013.

Vernon Ave Residential Modern Architecture Firm Venice

 

 

Pettis Avenue Residence

A single family residence in Mountain View, Ca (that's up North). Scheduled to start construction in 2013.

Mountain View CA Modern Architects

 

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.

Modative Architecture Staff Add 2012

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!

Tags: Residential, Los Angeles, Small Lot Subdivision, website update, Architectual Practice, los angeles architects, construction, Cullen Street Homes Construction

Modative Architecture Welcomes Krystal Návar to the Team

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 @ 10:06 AM

2011 has been quite a year here at Modative. After utilizing our "be cheap" and "start and stay small" philosophy to get through the tough architecture/real estate market of the last few years, 2011 has required us to make a change.

After an increase in projects this year, we found ourselves very busy and in need of some help. While exciting, the thought of expanding was a bit unnerving, because while Modative is a business, it's also a bit like a family. The three Modative principals have known each other for over 15 years. This level of trust allows for complete honesty amongst the group - a key ingredient to design and business success.

So, when the time came to expand, we decided against a big search, but rather to keep the "family" connection going by bringing on Christian's wife, Krystal Návar. Krystal's well-rounded architecture experience fit well with our needs. Besides, Krystal already felt like part of the Modative team. She has shot photos of our projects and has been our blog editor since its' inception. Nothing has been posted on this blog without her prior review. While she will continue in this editorial role, I'm happy to announce that Krystal will also be authoring blog posts starting immediately. Since she's a better writer than the rest of us combined, we're excited to have her help on the blog.

We thought a great intro post would be for Krystal to document the design process of a new single family residence we've been working on since her arrival here about a month ago. This blog post will be up later this week. In the meantime, feel free to check out Krystal's profile on our website.

Krystal Navar @ Modative Architecture

Welcome to the team Krystal!

Tags: Announcements, Organization, website update, Architectual Practice, Architecture Experience, employment

4 Reasons to Become a Fan of Modative Architecture on facebook

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Fri, Mar 26, 2010 @ 08:03 AM

1. You Like Christian, Michael and Derek (the founders of Modative)

You want them to succeed.

You'd invest in their company if people were actually foolish enough to invest in architecture firms. Becoming a fan on facebook will be your investment.

Becoming a fan of Modative Architecture now is like buying Apple stock back in 1996, days before Steve Jobs returned. If you did that back then, you'd now be a kagillionaire. So, joining the Modative train now will get you some serious internet clout when we get around to designing the architecture equivalent of the ipod.

modative founding partners

Hey, they seem like nice, upstanding citizens. I think I'll become a fan of their architecture firm.

2. You Hate Christian, Michael and Derek

You can't wait to see them fail.

You dislike them personally, their silly modern architecture and everything else they stand for. All great reasons to become a fan. It'll be like having front row facebook tickets to their demise.

architects political ad

I don't know. That's a pretty grainy political-ad-style photo. I can't wait to become a fan and watch their architecture empire crumble.

3. You Need Culture in Your Life

Actually, you don't need culture. You need the appearance of culture.

When your ex from high school finds you on facebook, they will dissect your profile, finding clues to the level of your lameness. Like it or not, you'll be defined by the pages on your profile. It could get ugly. But alas, there between the "Britney Spears Fan Page" and "Ground Beef Taco Lovers Club" they find a gem - "Modative Architecture". Bingo.

Wow, my ex follows a modern architecture firm. That's some serious culture and sophistication.

Little do they know, you consistently turn down invites to art gallery openings to stay home and watch bad reality TV shows in your underwear.

It's the appearance of culture we're after here people

4. It's a Low Maintenance Relationship

You know your random facebook acquaintance with the horrible band. The one that asked you to become a fan of their group. You gave in. Big mistake.

Now you're bombarded with daily group updates clogging your news feed:

"Check out our new song on MySpace called 'Pig's Lair'"

"Vote for us like a bagillion times in this useless online contest"

"Come rock out with us at our Tuesday night gig at Malloy's in Salinas, CA"

Salinas, seriously?

At Modative we won't spam up your news feed. Why? because we're too busy drawing buildings and other important architecture stuff. Complex, technical stuff.

We rarely update. And when we do, we'll be just as easy to ignore as the rest of your group/page updates.

 

So, if you're ready to make this minor commitment, you may facebook (used as a verb) us here -  Modative Architecture on facebook

 

Craving more social media madness?

Follow Derek's frequent twitter updates here - @architectderek

Wait for Christian's rare tweets here - @modative_navar

 

Or, if you want the appearance of culture in your inbox, subscribe to this architecture blog to recieve an email every time we post.

Tags: Modern Design, website update, Architectual Practice, architecture resorces

Avoid Property Purchasing Pitfalls - Utilize an Architect

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Wed, Mar 4, 2009 @ 10:03 AM

From news reports to personal experiences, we are all now very aware that the real estate world has cooled dramatically, however, the dip in property price and increase in foreclosures has brought about a new round of opportunity. Those who are willing and able to gobble up these affordable properties are in a good position to reap the benefits in the long run. Unfortunately, however, in the last few years, we've seen plenty of mistakes in buying property that could have been avoided with a bit of help from an architect.

Utilize an Architect's Experience

People often falsely assume that they must own a property before contacting an architect. This can be a difficult error to overcome. Architects have experience in understanding zoning codes that affect the value and buildability of the property.

But My Broker Told Me...

There are many great real estate brokers out there, but there are also many not so good. Remember that a broker's end goal is to sell you a property and collect a commission. This often leads to giving you the most favorable view of a property in hopes that you'll close the deal quick and easy. Most brokers will do a very superficial code search on a property, but the problem is that zoning codes are not always so simple, nor are they the only factor in determining the development value of a property.

Beyond the Codes

Although a thorough zoning code check is an important first step, architects have experience beyond just an understanding of the codes. They can typically give you a quick idea of what the site will allow based on other factors or costs.

To give you a better feel of some potential pitfalls, let's look at a few examples that we've experienced:

Client Scenario A - Parking Counts

A few years back we had a young client named Greg come to us with a property in Los Angeles that was zoned RD2 (a  multi-family zone). Greg had already purchased this property under the assumption from his real estate agent that he could develop a four-unit condominium on the property.

In theory this was correct. The RD2 zone allowed a density of one unit for every 2,000 square feet of property and the property was 8,500 square feet in size. So yes, the code allowed four units, but there were other factors at play. The configuration of the lot, and the city's parking requirements made it impossible to properly park a four unit condo on the site. Although it may have worked with underground parking, the cost of going underground given the size and layout of the lot would have made the project infeasible.

So after analyzing all of this for Greg, we determined at most he could do a three-unit condominium. The development numbers didn't add up, so Greg had just purchased a property that was of little value to him. If he had contacted us sooner, we could have warned him and he could have found a better suited property or negotiated the price of that property down until it made financial sense.

Client Scenario B - Hillside

In Los Angeles, the search for cheap lands often leads to the hills. Not the glamorous cliff hanging homes one thinks of, but leftover raw land with severe slopes. A young couple, Claire and Sam  came to us a while back with one of these lots in mind. Their broker brought this property to their attention because it was cheap and had nothing built on it yet. To Claire and Sam it seemed like a dream property. The cheap land would allow them to build the small modern home they had been dreaming of.

Fortunately, Claire and Sam called us when they found this property. Aside from not meeting code requirements to build what they wanted, we explained to them that the added foundation costs to build on an unstable hill like this far outweighed the potential savings of the cheap land. Needless to say, they didn't purchase this particular hillside mess. We like to think that our quick advice saved them from this big financial mistake.

Free Research by an Architect

Not all scenarios are like this. These two just highlight some potential mistakes that can be made without getting an architect's help early in the process.

To help prevent some of these property purchasing pitfalls, we have added a free zoning code search to our web site. This service is available to current property owners and people searching for property in the Los Angeles area. Learning about a property's zoning code is an important first step in any potential project. A step that we are trying to make a little easier and more accessible.


TweetIt from HubSpot

Tags: Property, Los Angeles, website update, architect advice, architecture resources, Zoning Code Search

Some Modative Web Stats

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Mon, Feb 23, 2009 @ 11:02 AM

I find web stats fascinating. They are a quick reminder that the world wide web really is world wide. Although most of our web traffic is from within the USA, 16% of our visiors are from outside our borders. To give you a sense, I thought I'd share this location breakdown of the top 25 countries that have visited www.modative.com in past year to date.

web stats architect firm

Web stats by Google Analytics.

Tags: website update, architect website

A Modern Pool Pavilion on a Steep Hill

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Sun, Jan 25, 2009 @ 05:01 AM

The Willow Glen Pool Pavilion was just added to the projects section of our website. Here's a bit about our design approach to this unique project:

modern pool designs

The Slope

When a successful young professional came to Modative about adding a pool and pool house to his property in the Hollywood Hills, we thought it was a pretty straight forward request. That was, of course, until we saw the property in person.The existing modern home which sat at street level was immediately followed by a steep 45 degree downslope. As a site for a pool, it was not ideal, but as we enjoy a good challenge; we saw this as an opportunity to design a dynamic solution that would provide the client's request for valuable outdoor space in an unlikely place.

hillside pool design

Blending In

The client had few requests, but one was that the pool pavilion be pretty well hidden from the house above. Our solution was to landscape the roof having it appear as an extension of the sloping side. This green roof not only helps disguise the building from above, but reduces runoff, heat island effect, and provides insulation to keep the pavilion cool in summer months.

pool house designs

Here Comes the Sun

The steep slope also provided difficult solar challenges. To discover the optimal location for the pool, Modative did thorough computer solar simulations with numerous schemes, eventually settling on a pool and deck location that get the most sun possible.

contemporary pool

A Special Place

The pool is designed with an infinity edge that floats over the  drop off allowing for uninterrupted views from the dramatic hillside location. The main space of the pool pavilion is designed for flexibility. Multi-track sliding doors pull back at the corner, opening up the room to the outdoors. The pavilion's wood-clad bathroom was given equal attention. Accessed via stepping pads in the pool, the bathroom also takes in the view from it's oversize shower.

pool deck designs

A Vertical Journey

Because of the intensity of the slope, the pool was located several flights of stairs below the house. Resting points, viewing platforms and changes in direction help compensate for the long vertical journey from the house down to the pool. The main view point along the stair, a projecting landing, was envisioned to double as a DJ booth for parties.

Visit the Willow Glen Pool Pavilion project page

Tags: Residential, Los Angeles, Modern Design, website update, Architecture Experience, Architecture portfolio, Pools

An Architect's Website Breaks from the Norm for the Public's Good

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Tue, Jan 20, 2009 @ 10:01 AM

If you've spent any time perusing architect's websites, you'll probably notice one common theme: architects like talking about themselves and their projects. Does this mean architect's are self centered ego maniacs? Well...long pause...not necessarily. Architects, like most businesses, are somewhat obligated to tell you about themselves; show you their work, and give you a feel for if they are the right firm for you.

Unfortunatly, all this "selfish" architect behavior has left us with a world wide web that is pretty void of honest useful advice for all the non-architects out there(ie. our potential clients.) Most people have the feeling that in order to get an architect's help one must hire them first.This approach seems a bit suspect, since few people, have any experience in hiring architects or understanding what it takes to start a project.

So we have to ask ourselves, does all this uncertainty make people want to hire an architect?

The answer: Not really.

This unfortunate reallity has caused us to make a bit of a change to our site here at Modative. A shift away from architecture website norm.


Yes, our site will still mostly be about US with images of projects, profiles of the partners, and a bit about firm philosophy. However, we have added a new section called resources that is dedicated to YOU, our current and (hopefully) future clients. Our hope is that this section will help alleviate some of the uncertainty associated with starting a building project and deciding on an architect. New free resources for non-architects will be added in the coming months that will be available to anyone with a computer and internet access.

An architect's website about you. How's that for some out of the box thinking?

Tags: Innovation, Organization, website update, Architectual Practice, architecture resorces, architect advice, architect website

Welcome to the New modative.com

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Mon, Jan 5, 2009 @ 11:01 AM

Happy New Year!!!

To kick-off the new year, Modative is updating our website and blog. In the coming weeks, we will be adding new projects and useful content to our site.

Subscribe to our blog today to receive updates when new content is added.

Tags: website update