2007 MFE Awards
Project of the Year: Low-Rise

Stroll past Avalon del Rey and you just might rub elbows with a few Hollywood stars. The 309-unit AvalonBay Communities apartment building is neighbored by TV and movie studios. That location—15 miles from Los Angeles—presented a number of challenges. A big one: A site next door is used to film late-night car chases with plenty of gunshots and sirens. To help buffer the noise (and hide a nearby cell tower), the architect innovatively designed two above-ground wrap-around parking structures.

Designed by Newman Garrison Gilmour + Partners, the project artfully echoes its industrial surroundings through a corrugated metal façade, flat roofs, and a bold color palette of deep red, yellow, gray, and off-white. “There are a lot of industrial buildings still in use, and now we are putting a residential project right in the mix of it all,” says Kevin Newman, chairman and CEO of the Newport Beach, Calif.-based architecture firm. “It was critical for us to maintain that industrial flavor.”

The theme is carried to the interior where loft-style units feature wide-open floor plans, contemporary finishes, stainless-steel appliances, and concrete floors. The hip, edgy project, located on 4.5 acres within the Playa del Rey master-planned community, caters to young professionals with a host of amenities including a pool and spa, cyber lounge, clubhouse, and game room. “It's a very convenience-oriented design where you park on the same level that you live,” Newman says.

Fast Facts

  • Developer: AvalonBay Communities
  • Architect: Newman Garrison Gilmour + Partners
  • Opened: August 2006
  • Units: 309
  • Unit Mix: lofts and one-, two-, and three-bedrooms
  • Prices: $1,815 to $3,320
    Judge's Verdict

    “THE JUDGES PRAISED THIS ENTRY FOR ITS THOUGHTFULNESS AND UNAPOLOGETIC INDUSTRIAL LOOK ADAPTED TO A LOW-RISE, WOOD BUILDING. ITS SERIES OF FAÇADES GIVES THE PROJECT AN URBAN FEEL IN A TRANSITIONING AREA.”

    —Daniel Ashtary, principal, Torti Gallas and Partners