Portfolio Project Detail

The Sponge Max Hu, Qian Yu, and Zhoufan Chen

The Arts District of Los Angeles, once known to be inhabited by artists, writers, and musicians in the 1970s, lies at the forefront of rapid gentrification and development. Today, there is need for much more density. This design not only addresses the demand for more housing but attempts to retain affordability and a sense of community in a housing market that has priced-out these artist communities that have made the Arts District what it is today. The site, situated on 635 Mateo Street recognizes the potential for growth through the lens of co-living, to provide opportunities that enhance the cultural, social, physical and sustainable aspects of the local community.

The Sponge transforms the way we live; it advocates for a new mode of community and interaction between the existing building, inhabitants, and the units they occupy.

To preserve the historical context of the neighborhood and to enhance the architectural character of the community, the design is an addition built atop the existing structure, The warehouse is rehabilitated as a commercial podium providing amenities to its inhabitants as well as opens its doors to the community. The design of the unit module allows for flexibility and adaptability to expand to different locations. Additionally, each unit is prefabricated, assuring the quality of construction, financial savings, reduced site disruption, shorter construction time, and increased sustainability.

256 sqft is used to define habitable space based on what an individual need including circulation. The private spaces are shaped into three different unit types based on different needs. When several units are joined, their shared space is combined into one larger space. This promotes collaboration and social networking between habitants. Voids are placed intermittently to allow for adequate daylighting, a moment of retreat, or for vertical circulation.

The current building footprint provides 36 modules per floor, while still allowing for future growth in density and/or height. All units have access to green space, double height space, and stack ventilation. Four means of egress are provided at the each of the corners, and one in the center. The inclusive building design provides accessibility to all of its inhabitants while creating a delightful experience throughout the complex.

The Sponge, through its properties like high porosity, provides ample spaces for people to breathe and enjoy sunlight, while building interaction and diversity like the water it attracts.