Monthly Archives: May 2012

Progress Gallery: Collage Apartments

Collage is an affordable family housing development on Pine Avenue in Long Beach. The fourteen-unit project will be done in less than a month and already has a waiting list of over 200 families!


To learn the details of this project, visit our previous blog: “Efficiently Stabilizing Neighborhoods”.

Sketch of the Week: Transit Mixed-Use

We recently participated in a competition for a proposed mixed-use project located at a transit station. It was a great opportunity for us to study the integration of streets, uses, open space, massing, and parking while at the same time creating a livable environment and promoting a sense of place. This sketch illustrates the elevated rail station; proposed are live-work lofts, townhouses, and retail to activate the ground floor and office/housing above. The rail station is integrated into the site to promote convenient linkages for pedestrians, cyclists, and automobiles.

Wish us luck on winning this competition!

Landscape Design & California “Must Haves”: Phormium “Shiraz”


Next in our ongoing series of “must haves” for California landscape design is Phormium “Shiraz”. Also called New Zealand Flax, Phormuim “Shiraz” has piqued our interest due to its wine-colored foliage and drought-resistant characteristics. It has a compact upright architectural form and slender evergreen leaves, and the deep red color has subtle variations of green and purple that give the plant added dimension and elegance.

Phormium “Shiraz” will grow almost anywhere – it requires full sun and well-drained soil, though too much moisture can cause root or crown rot. It is very resistant to reflected heat from pavement, which makes it particularly desirable for median landscapes, and it’s striking in mass plantings as well as in containers where its architectural character can be displayed.

To learn about our previous “must have” California plant, see Landscape Design & California “Must Haves”.

Update: District La Brea (Continental Graphics)


District La Brea is an adaptive re-use development project on La Brea Avenue between 1st and 2nd street. The existing block served as the headquarters of the Continental Graphics Corporation, one of LA’s premier printing shops. This project features eleven existing buildings that are being transformed to host a mix of urban retail, restaurant, and creative office spaces. The owner has taken a building-by-building approach to developing the site, inviting regional and local tenants that will build on its rich history. Studio One Eleven is providing facade renovation, interior core and shell build out, and streetscape work aimed at introducing pedestrian vitality to the unique district. Read on for an update on the status of individual buildings (listed in chronological order).
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Sketch of the Week: McKenna’s at Long Beach Airport

Continuing the airport theme, this week’s sketch is of McKenna’s on the Fly at the soon-to-be revamped Long Beach Airport. The sketch is a section through the space to determine conflicts, opportunities and details. The design inspiration behind this formal dining establishment is a modern American chophouse; features will include Carrera marble, reclaimed wood, hexagonal tile, rich dark paint colors, individual table lamps, and leather booths. A sushi bar will be centrally located within the space, defined by a modern tin ceiling and suspended light fixtures.

The north wall of the patio will include an outdoor fireplace as well as operable glass doors to connect the exterior patio with the sushi bar. The original restaurant name, “McKenna’s on the Bay“, will be playfully renamed “McKenna’s on the Fly” to distinguish its unique airport location.

Long Beach Airport Retail


Rendering – Long Beach Airport Marché

Long Beach Airport will soon replace the maze of temporary trailers that have made it famous (or infamous) with two brand new terminals. Building on the airport’s popularity for its affordability and convenience, the updates will transform Long Beach Airport from a mundane collection of trailers into a memorable and enjoyable travel destination.

Between these buildings – simply named the North and South Concourses – will be a lush garden court located on axis with the original 1940’s terminal. The North Concourse will accommodate airlines catering to the leisure traveler, while the South Concourse will focus on the business traveler. Within the new structures will be over 10,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, featuring a variety of Long Beach favorites: George’s Greek Cafe, Taco Beach, McKenna’s, Polly’s Coffee, Sweet Jill’s, and 4th Street Vine, to name a few. Spaces are designed to reflect the unique character of local retailers and complement the simple design of terminal structures with a contemporary aesthetic. The goal for both the Airport and the Concessionaire is for the retail interiors to evoke a relaxed, resort-like atmosphere, serving as a flagship example of airport retailing.

Celebrating Southern California’s temperate climate, the design incorporates three distinct patios comprising 4,200 square feet of outdoor seating. Features within the patios include a fire place and fire table, living wall, cabanas, suspended lights, landscaping, and an area for outdoor performances.

These improvements are meant to freshen and modernize the airport without sacrificing what makes it great. They will give travelers a real idea of what Long Beach has to offer, and maybe even convince them to stick around a while.