Spectrum News 1 Socal interviewed our founder Karin Liljegren on Reimagining Spaces, our post pandemic urban design report.
“I just love the vitality here. You know, the people are just real,” Liljegren said. “We’ve got to bring downtown Los Angeles back, though, because it's in pretty sad shape right now.”
Spectrum News's Kristopher Gee talks to Karin about how design can change for the better post-COVID in the workplace, multifamily buildings, and reprogramming underutilized commercial buildings.
Watch the full story
Building Design + Construction Magazine's show The Weekly features our Reimagining Spaces design report.
BD+C's John Caulfield interviews our very own Karin Liljegren, FAIA on our recently released reports on adaptive reuse for workplaces, multifamily, and urban reprogramming, Reimagining Spaces. Karin explains how empty or excess shopping malls, big boxes, ground-floor retail, and light industrial could be put to better use, and even makes the provocative claim that offices and restaurants have commonalities.
Watch the full interview
Before the pandemic, incorporation of amenity spaces and providing a variety of unit types were common considerations in urban multi-family buildings. Among the many economic impacts of today's pandemic, the residential sector will experience long term shifts in how its spaces are used and examined.
As cities continue to densify, the future of multifamily housing depends even more on finding the right balance between indoor and outdoor spaces. This balance is critical to the health of urban residents and the success of the places they call home. Planning for density and open space must be considered to pave the way for a more porous city that includes spaces for increased access to natural light, landscape, and human-centered places.
Private + Gather Zones
By their very nature, traditional two-bedroom apartment layouts offer little flexibility for various living situations. They typically consist of two private sleeping spaces and one gathering space to house either two single people, a couple with a child, or a couple with one workspace.
Programming common areas serving multifamily projects must go beyond meeting traditional uses. They must set the bar higher by offering opportunities to create culture, spark new interactions, and facilitate a building-wide sense of community that extends into the surrounding neighborhood. The next concepts explore ways to strengthen a building’s community at different scales with the context of an existing 12-story building in downtown Los Angeles.
Indoor To Outdoor Connection
Using the principles of human-centered design, we must consider new and impactful solutions to today’s pandemic-related challenges, in which we live and work simultaneously, often in the same realm. This concept explores four ideas to create a reimagined living and working space within the context of a typical 600 sf unit.
The pandemic has severely affected the restaurant industry across Los Angeles, with downtown Los Angeles hit particularly hard. The LA Alfresco Dining Initiative that is in effect for the duration of the Safer at Home order allows restaurants to open and serve customers at partial capacity by temporarily relaxing the rules that regulate outdoor dining while still maintaining safe physical distancing. The initiative enables restaurants to maximize the 60% indoor dining capacity required by the state allowing dining on sidewalk, in on-street parking spaces, and in private parking lots; it also enables street closures for additional potential seating.
In downtown Los Angeles, ground floor commercial spaces are typical to new residential and office buildings. Leaseholders of these spaces can present so much income volatility that they’re sometimes not even reflected in a developer's proforma. It is now crucial to fill the long-vacant commercial spaces below, especially when residential or office uses above are performing well. Through creative thinking and blended uses, our goal is to reinvigorate ground-floor spaces by creating revenue, making sure the lights stay on, and helping tenants engage the adjacent street frontage. Doing so reactivates connections to the public realm and allows the surrounding community to thrive.
Just outside of downtown Los Angeles and across LA County, we see thousands of existing industrial buildings that are too small and outdated to be useful to today’s industries. Their wide-scale demolition risks annihilating their rich potential. Typically, these industrial buildings are close to urban cores that have undergone revitalization, meaning that their purchase price is relatively high. These buildings are also typically located in neighborhoods that see little after-hours activity and may lack sidewalks and associated parking. These factors make their purchase not financially attractive to most investors, so they lie dormant.