701 East Ocean Boulevard
Master’s Thesis, Cal Poly Pomona
As our planet faces increasing environmental challenges it is necessary to address our inefficient land use patterns and building practices. This project seeks to provide a sustainable, high-density, market alternative to suburban development. Increasing density is key achieving sustainable cities, despite the current preference for single-family homes. This project focuses on the perceived market preference for single-family homes and how they really have only served traditional families. Other household types, such as single-parent households, dual-income families, retirees, and singles are forced to adapt to a land use typology that was not designed with their needs in mind. There is a large opportunity for developers if they focus their efforts on these underserved markets. By creating buildings that cater to these groups, they can maximize profit while providing a more diverse housing stock. Additionally, higher-densities, which could serve these markets well, would decrease our carbon footprint and lead us toward a more sustainable future. The goal of this project is to create a suburban-like living arrangement in an urban context. By combining the advantages of both urban and suburban living, it caters to dual-income families who would normally buy suburban homes. It features flexible living space that will transform over time to suit families in the future.
The project is located in downtown Long Beach, California on the corner of Ocean Boulevard and Alamitos Avenue. The urban context provides a range of activities and services to the residents of the development. These services increase the development’s attractiveness to working parents, coaxing them out of outdated single-family homes. Day care service, children’s play spaces, and access to prepared food and cleaning services decrease the domestic workload, freeing time and energy for work and quality family life.
The design of the building is driven by access to light, air, views, and outdoor space. The massing consists of a courtyard scheme that is elevated above a double-high retail plinth. Above the two-storey retail, there is an L-shaped townhouse “building,” a courtyard, and a condominium tower. The townhouse mass reaches a maximum height of 40 feet from street level, which responds to the low apartment buildings located to the north and west of the site. The condominium tower reaches a height of 300 feet, which corresponds to the height of the condominium towers to the south. Another community area is located on the top floor of the tower, consisting of a community room, exercise room, and pool. Units within the tower, with the exception of the accessible flats at the base, are two-story units. Each unit interlocks with another, forming a three-storey block with one central hallway. This three-storey block is repeated eight times to form the body of the tower. Because each unit spans the entire width of the tower, every unit has a view of both the shoreline and the mountains and benefits from natural ventilation. Each unit has a double-height living space that opens onto a double-height patio. Even though units are removed from ground level, they still maintain a strong indoor-outdoor relationship.