Rossmore & Weldon Los Angeles, CA
This project entails the conversions of small extraordinarily tight service alleys into shared social tenant spaces. The three space measure 7’ x 50’, 10’ x 12’ and 15’ x 20’ and measure a combined total of less than 850 square feet. As part of a modernization project of a110 unit affordable housing project on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles, the existing historic brick building was built in the 1930’s and required ADA upgrades, replacement of window, appliance, electrical and mechanical equipment and an array of repairs to keep the structure from falling into disrepair. No significant design changes/alterations were to be made to the units or building design. However, during the evaluation process the architects discovered three service courtyards and alley’s in the building that were either poorly utilized, abandoned or cluttered with bicycles and other tenant debris. Otherwise, the building had no other exterior space. Upon this discovery the architects suggested to the client that at minimal costs these service areas could be transformed into usable shared social spaces that could have a dramatic impact for the tenants within an otherwise ordinary modernization that customarily is void of any significant design improvements. Two courtyards at the Weldon are bounded by the building’s five-story mass and adjacent two-story buildings. In both the 8-foot by 60-foot west courtyard and the 21-foot by 16-foot south courtyard, concrete pavers have replaced ordinary cement slabs and ill-conceived round pavers that previously dotted the ground. The perimeters are now lined with white gravel, and the same light-colored palette covers every surface of the renovated space. Poured-in-place concrete seats and tables provide durable and inviting places to sit and linger. Custom-designed white-painted steel pot holders on the white-painted CMU walls hold ordinary clay pots for planting. These pots can be left in the courtyards or taken by the residents to their apartments.