Cherokee Lofts

Los Angeles, CA
Photo © Tara Wujcik
Photo © Tara Wujcik
Photo © Tara Wujcik
Photo © Pugh + Scarpa
Photo © Tara Wujcik
Photo © Tara Wujcik
Brooks + Scarpa Architects
751 N. Fairfax Ave, 90046 Los Angeles, CA
1M - 100M
5-20 Stories

Cherokee Lofts is the most advanced and distinctive building of its kind in Los Angeles. It will be the first "green" LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum Certified building in Hollywood per the U.S. Green Building Council certification system and it will be the first LEED Platinum Certified mixed-use or market rate multifamily building in Southern California. The development pays homage to the significant musical and Hollywood history of Cherokee Recording Studios, MGM Studios before it, and all the artists who recorded music on the site, from Frank Sinatra to David Bowie to Dave Matthews. Its unique architectural form and integrated function, characterized by occupant-controlled aluminum panels, create a high-performing building that is an expression of the environmental and cultural context in which it is built. Cherokee Lofts represents the premiere in green design, form, and function in the epicenter of the entertainment capital of the world. The project is the 2007 Westside Urban Forum Westside Prize Winner.

Building Basics:Cherokee Lofts consists of 12 condominium lofts and 2800 square feet of retail space. The building has 5 stories, including 1 underground level of parking, first-floor retail and parking, 3 floors of lofts on floors 2 through 4, and a rooftop deck and green roof.

Total square footage is approximately 20,500 SF.

Completed: December 2009

The lofts range in size from 1,000 square feet to 2,000 square feet, with unique and distinctive floor plans. Seven of the lofts are two-story town homes perched 30 to 50 feet above street level. The living space, consisting of a state-of-the-art kitchen, great room, bathroom, and home recording studio or office, will be on the 4th floor, 38 feet above street level, so as to maximize city skyline views, daylight, and energy efficiency. Three of the lofts have 17-foot high ceilings with mezzanines and open to a lushly landscaped courtyard. Finally, two loft flats have 10-foot high ceilings, also opening to the landscaped courtyard. All lofts have two to three bathrooms and one to four bedrooms. Interiors including kitchens, baths, and finishes are ‘eco-luxury,' with high-end appointments that have simple and modern lines, but which are also sustainable.

The building is located at 751 N. Fairfax, just north of Melrose right around the corner from the increasingly popular and hip Melrose Heights Fashion District, which includes Fred Segal, Adidas, and Mark Jacobs, among others. It also borders West Hollywood, is 3⁄4 mile from the center of the Sunset Strip, 3⁄4 mile from The Grove shopping mall, a mile away from the Beverly Center, and 3 blocks away from Whole Foods and Starbucks.

Where Form Meets Function In a Green and Historic Way:

This building was conceptualized, designed, and built with the paramount goal of blending a highly designed, sustainable building while preserving the rich history of the site. Through every step of the integrated design process, the Team debated how the building's look and materials would affect its function, livability, and position in the community. The result is a visually captivating building with a special story to tell in how it performs, what it was, and what it will be. A few of the key green and historical features of this unique building are described below.

Green Feature Highlights:

* 40% more energy efficient than California's very strict energy code for newly constructed buildings (Title 24) and more than 100% more efficient than buildings built just 10 years ago, saving owners real money while reducing greenhouse gases.

* Architectural Dynamic Double Façade, which is owner-controlled, creates a eye-catching and fluid external view, while providing shading to cool the building, reducing noise, enhancing privacy, and still allowing for spectacular views, great natural light and ventilation from ocean breezes, which pass through its millions of perforations, even when all panels are closed.

* Advanced Cooling and Heating Comfort System, which is also being used in Canada's new 2010 Olympic Village, cools and warms floors, ceilings, and walls to create a perfectly temperate environment, which offers improved conditions for respiratory systems, skin, and overall health and comfort.

* Green Building Orientation places the central courtyard between the two residential structures, allowing for daylighting on both sides of every unit, while allowing prevailing breezes to fully pass through the units for natural ventilation.

* Green Roof provides foliage for occupants to enjoy, while keeping the building better insulated, cleaning the air, and reducing stormwater runoff.

* Water Conservation will be accomplished with dual-flush toilets, efficient fixtures, hot water circulators, and drought-tolerant landscaping.

* Solar Power drives all common-area electrical loads and provides a percentage of the heating and hot water needs for the building reducing energy needs and HOA fees.

* Green Location is achieved by proximity to a Metro Rapid Bus and walkable distances to a coffee shop, an organic grocery, restaurants, high-end retail, and major entertainment centers.

* Green materials and products are used extensively throughout, including cellulose insulation, FSC Certified wood, and aluminum. These materials are recycled, renewable, and contain no VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).

All of these green features help to reduce the impact on the environment while reducing operations costs, and ultimately creating a healthier and better place to live.

Historic Feature Highlights:

Cherokee Studios, the site's former owner and occupant, operated one of the most significant musical Hollywood recording studios, with over 300 Platinum and Gold albums recorded by artists such as David Bowie, Elton John, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis. The new development respects and will pay homage to this past by subtly weaving historic elements into the building.

* Dynamic Façade. The most dramatic feature of the building, the operable façade, emulates the past creativity that was captured at the site, by constantly changing and moving, much like the music created in the studio.

* Studio One's Black Forest Wood. Many materials from the existing recording studio have been re-used throughout the new building, including the dark wood paneling from Germany's Black Forest that completed Frank Sinatra's Studio One.

* Home Recording Studios. A few of the units include home recording studios, designed masterfully by Cherokee Studio's founders.

* History: Studio memorabilia, history, and stories are creatively and tastefully featured and documented throughout building, and in the building owner's and operation manual.

* Cherokee Studio's Green Future. Cherokee Studios is going green, just like Cherokee Lofts, with a green record label and a new, larger, green recording studio, to be built with REthink, and a eco-rock tour called "Rock Your Planet."

The close attention paid to the interaction of form and function, green architecture, and history creates a one-of-a-kind building, superior in design, construction quality, and energy efficiency. It will be less expensive to operate, healthier for its residents, and less impactful to the environment. For these reasons, Cherokee Lofts is at the forefront of intelligent building.

Design and Build Team

All members of the design and build team are leaders and pioneers in green building and architecturally significant projects. The architect, Pugh + Scarpa, is the recipient of the 2010 AIA National Architecture Firm Award, and an unprecedented two-time winner of AIA Top 10 Green Building Award, plus 100 other awards and accolades. The mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers, Cobalt Engineering, are outstanding leaders in green residential and commercial projects. The contractor, JT Builders, is also a pioneer in the green building space, delivering well-built and high-quality buildings. And lastly, the developer, REthink Development, is a leader and trail blazer, not only on their own green building projects, but also by serving as green consultants on other cutting-edge, significant, and noteworthy green development projects. REthink's team members are also LEED-Accredited Professionals, sit on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Green Building Council LA Chapter, and have set policy on green building in the city of Santa Monica, Los Angeles, West Hollywood and County of Los Angeles, and have managed large civic projects.

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