Journal

Omgivning Wins 2021 AIA Next LA Award for Sub/Merge and Hidden Gardens

AIA Next LA Banner

Omgivning is the 2021 AIA Los Angeles Design Awards recipient of the Next LA Multi Unit Residential Merit Award for both Hidden Gardens and Sub/Merge.

These are the two entries that we submitted and won for the Los Angeles Low Rise Challenge from earlier in the year. Both concepts focus on creating community-based housing using existing lots in the city.

AIA Los Angeles had two events in the Fall of 2021, one live at SoFi Stadium where Karin accepted the award, and a virtual event where lead designer Albert Escobar spoke a bit about the project and the win.

Watch this portion of the acceptance speech (it's only three and a half minutes).

Read more

WATCH: Omgivning Speaks on the Lesser Known Historic Buildings in Los Angeles

AIA LA Background Buildings

In sync with the relaunch of the AIA Los Angeles Historic Resources Committee and a refocused mission centered on Adaptive Reuse (historic preservation that is future oriented), this inaugural event from AIA Los Angeles brings together four distinguished panelists listed below to bring attention to both “Background Buildings” that define the character of Downtown Los Angeles, as well as the forthcoming Downtown Community Plan Update (DTLA 2040) that will incentivize their preservation.

In addition to learning about “Background Buildings” and DTLA 2040, attendees were also presented case studies of recent projects that exemplify the latest efforts to preserve and celebrate “Background Buildings,” which inlcludes Omgvining projects. Attendees also were invited to engage the panelists during a Q&A.

Watch the full talk.

Read more

Sub/Merge by Omgivning and Studio MLA

2021 Low Rise LA Rendering Alley Subdivision

Omgivning and Studio MLA teamed up to win second place in the Subdivision category of the Low-Rise design competition.

Sub / Merge : Subdivisions that Connect

Consideration for sensitive densification in Los Angeles as a response to the city's ongoing housing shortage should focus on the organic evolution of neighborhoods toward a more sustainable community. The gentrification that so commonly follows densification has potential to be combatted through strategies of retention of existing residents, and more inclusive and affordable models of ownership. Sub/Merge is a model for a versatile framework that seeks to subdivide existing single family residential parcels into smaller lots that afford a greater range of family types with varying income levels the possibility of owning their own home, while retaining the scale and character of the existing neighborhood. This model addresses the fabric of Los Angeles’ single-family residential communities, from Vermont Square to Atwater Village to Van Nuys, while allowing for flexibility that serves the specific needs of each neighborhood.

1 Subdivision axon

Read more

Hidden Gardens by Omgivning and Studio MLA

Fourplex Winner Low Rise LA

Omgivning and Studio MLA teamed up to win first place in the Fourplex category of the Low-Rise design competition.

This design challenge was organized by the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Chief Design Officer for the City of Los Angeles, Christopher Hawthorne. It received a total of 380 submissions from around the world, responding to a brief with four categories: Corners, Fourplex (1st Place, Omgivning), (Re)Distribution, and Subdivision (2nd Place, Omgivning).

Details on the categories, as well as the community-engagement listening sessions that were required viewing for all entrants, can be found at www.lowrise.la.


Hidden Gardens: A Balance Between Inside and Outside

As Los Angeles neighborhoods continue to densify, the future of multi-family housing depends even more on finding the right balance between indoor and outdoor space. 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 creates and opportunity for a more porous city with spaces that increase access to natural light, landscape, and human-centered places. Hidden Gardens is a model for a versatile framework that creates relationships between indoor and outdoor spaces, and offers a compelling connection between views, neighbors, and the city. These spaces lead to a stronger sense of community within the complex and neighborhood by fostering dialogue and social connections.


Low Rise Omgivning Winner Image Fourplex Rendering

Fourplex Strategy
Hidden Gardens places three individual two-story housing blocks, each inter-connected with multiple variations of internal and external spaces make the whole site feel like a series of gardens. This porosity creates spaces between the units that act as a buffer to help with privacy and noise reduction while allowing each space to have access to natural daylight and ventilation. The model also grants residents their own private indoor and outdoor spaces where they can relax and enjoy themselves within the garden setting. Even though there is more building surface than a typical fourplex apartment, the use of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) as a construction method allows the units to be erected at a faster speed than traditional stick frame construction at an affordable cost.

The Community Easement provides a community-driven space for planned and spontaneous interactions, enhancing the connection between the residents, their families and neighbors. The front portion of the parcel could be managed and maintained by a Community Land Trust (CLT) to create a passive community park or community garden serving as a productive landscape that also acts as a buffer between the public way and the private spaces.

While the car remains an iconic form of transportation in Los Angeles, the proposed model allows for flexibility to host parking dependent on specific community needs. The site can host one parking spot per unit, up to four parking spots on-site inclusive of an accessible parking stall, that can be supplemented with electric vehicle charging, or bike storage to provide residents with access to a variety of mobility options regardless of proximity to public transportation. The public way can be treated as Green Alleys and Slow Streets to create protected lanes and additional open space for pedestrians to run, bike or scoot through their neighborhood.

Read more

Omgivning Wins Low Rise LA Design Competition

Low Rise competition Banner

Omgivning and landscape architects Studio-MLA were announced as winners in a first-ever competition, the Low-Rise: Housing Ideas for Los Angeles design challenge.

Organized by the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Christopher Hawthorne, the Chief Design Officer for the City of Los Angeles, the new design competition asked “architects and landscape architects to imagine appealing and sustainable new models of low-rise, multi-unit housing.” Low Rise Competition Winner Omgivning Patio Out of nearly 400 local, national, and international submissions in four design categories, the team of Omgivning and Studio-MLA emerged as the only team to win twice: first place in Fourplex and second place in Subdivision. That's two of the four categories. Details on the categories, jury members, as well as the community-engagement listening sessions required for all entrants, can be found at lowrise.la.

Read more

Reimagining Spaces: Designing for Outdoor Dining and Urban Revitalization

Urban Revitalization Intro

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.

Read more

Announcing Karin Liljegren, FAIA, IIDA

karin new color

We're excited to formally announce that Karin Liljegren, our firm’s founder and principal, has been elevated to the AIA's prestigious College of Fellows. Each year since 1952, AIA leaders have recognized a tiny subset of members for their exceptional contributions to the field of architecture. Karin was commended for elevating the architect’s role in urban revitalization and for creating a nationally applicable model in the practice of adaptive reuse.

Read more

On May 22, Omgivning Trades Notes with Beyer Blinder Belle & Kliment Halsband

Architect's Newspaper May 22

If you're curious about how preservationists and adaptive-reuse architects balance historic aesthetics with long-term usability, sign up for the Trading Notes webinar on May 22, run by our friends at The Architect's Newspaper.

Our own Karin Liljegren, FAIA, will be joining Richard Southwick, FAIA, LEED AP, and Frances Halsband, FAIA, as they discuss their approach to projects, with lessons applicable to interventions all over the world.

Read more

Open for Business: Interstellar, Our Newest Restaurant Project

Interstellar Omgivning Bethany Nauert 4

Introducing our latest project: Interstellar!

Opening a restaurant isn't easy, no matter the timing. Opening one right now takes serious courage—and support. Located in a prime site in Santa Monica, they've not only launched, they’re up and running for takeout and delivery!

We recommend the branzino ochazuke with a drink from their excellent beer selection.

Interstellar 3

Read more

What Do Architects Want from a Green New Deal?

Green New Deal-01

It's exciting to imagine that the Green New Deal might turn more real if the 2020 election goes... in a certain direction. For this piece by The Architect's Newspaper, Karin Liljegren talked about her wish list for the legislation.

Read more