To commemorate KFA’s selection as AIACC 2016 Firm of the Year, Paul W. Welch, Jr., Hon. AIA and Shannon Calder from AIACC, along with last year’s recipient, Debra Gerod, FAIA from Gruen Associates, joined us for a celebratory lunch this past April. It was a proud moment for everyone at KFA when Paul handed the official Firm Award to Barbara and Wade.
“Architecture is the most public of the arts, and all advanced civilizations look at architecture as the centers of community. And you [KFA] have been able to make a difference in this [the Los Angeles] community,” Paul remarked.
Through its AIA California Council Awards Program, the award celebrates KFA’s architectural legacy — for portfolio, firm culture, and contribution to society. Bestowing KFA with the Firm Award, Paul noted that the AIACC appreciates the focus the firm takes on social issues and having a core value of helping others, including the less advantaged, by providing them with homes and elevating their quality of life.
For 40 years, KFA has been changing LA’s landscape, providing a work environment that inspires excellence, teaches the value of good design, and exemplifies the work-life balance. “To be in an environment where they trust you to take on leadership roles sets you up for even more challenges and further fulfillment,” says KFA’s Andrea Urmanita. Part of the firm’s legacy is the life-work balance, which greatly contributes to personal wellness and culture building.
“It was particularly meaningful to have Paul, Sharon, and Debra personally present the award for firm of the year,” says founder Wade Killefer, “Paul’s remarks addressed what we are most proud of here at KFA, our work to house the homeless, our commitment to design excellence for Los Angeles, our efforts to rebuild our City’s historic core and our emphasis on creating a firm culture where everyone can do their best work. “
The lunch commenced with handshakes and hugs, Firm Award T-shirts, and of course, KFA’s signature leap of happiness.
Wednesday, June 29 2016
Largest LA Multifamily Project Breaks Ground – Multi-Housing News
by Jeffrey Steele – Multi-Housing News
June 13, 2016
Next On Lex is a Killefer Flammang Architects-designed $280 million mixed-use transit-oriented development in Glendale, Calif.
Image credit: Killefer Flammang Architects
Santa Monica, Calif.—Southern California architectural firm Killefer Flammang Architects (KFA) has announced the groundbreaking of Next On Lex, a KFA-designed $280 million mixed-use multifamily project in Glendale, Calif. The transit-oriented development at 201 Lexington Drive is the largest apartment project launched in the Los Angeles area this year. It is part of $1.3 billion in new developments by Century West Partners, which is among the most active L.A. metropolitan area apartment developers.
Slated for a partial opening with available units in fall of 2018, Next On Lex will be fully completed in the fall of 2019.
“In order for this project to come about our client, Century West, requested that entitlements had to be completed within three months,” Barbara Flammang, KFA co-founder and principal, told MHN. “This is an extraordinarily short time frame, especially when this also requires city council approval. We also needed to provide large open spaces to obtain incentives for height and FAR increases from the city, yet still maintain the total number of units to make the financial structure work. We were challenged with creating four separate and distinct buildings, each with an individual design and impression, and yet still cohesive and complementary throughout the site. One unique aspect of this project was factoring in an elevated, competitive-sized swimming pool.
“We are working closely with the general contractor and lender to coordinate the construction and demolition of two temporary lots. This is important to managing the phasing of construction to meet a tight building schedule. By doing this, we were able to eliminate almost two months of the construction, realizing tremendous savings.”
Next On Lex includes four six-story buildings that include a mix of studio-, one-, two- and three-bedroom units, as well as 39 studio lofts and 10 live-work units. Occupying a full block bordered by Central Ave., Lexington Dr., Milford and Orange Sts., the development includes three levels of underground parking with spaces for 753 cars, 152 bicycles and secured storage for all units.
The Next On Lex entrance is graced by wide, welcoming paseos with spreading trees, flagstone pavers and steel planters.
Residents will also appreciate a range of luxury amenities that includes outdoor living areas, pools, landscaped courtyards that include a landscaped rooftop deck and sky lounge, multiple sun decks, and ample community space. They will be able to access an onsite business center, yoga studio and fitness center, hot tubs and the aforementioned competition-sized pool. A media room, game room, private massage room and party room with kitchen are among other luxury amenities.
“Next On Lex is a stellar example of a transit-oriented development of the highest quality that looks to the future,” said Wade Killefer, AIA, and co-founder and partner of KFA. “We are very pleased to have created this model for mixed-use multifamily projects with more upscale, luxury finishes. “With its gracious paseos and lush landscaping, Next On Lex helps meet the increasing demand for rentals that meet higher lifestyle standards, located in the more sought-after neighborhoods of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.”
Added Flammang: “Flexibility was key to keeping the project under budget and making sure we met each of the tightly-scheduled milestones.”
Tuesday, May 24 2016
A Talk With WHCHC’s Executive Director Robin Conerly on the Occasion of WHCHC’s 30th Anniversary
What are some of WHCHC’s achievements over the past 30 years?
As I look back over the 30 years of providing affordable housing, WHCHC has had a wonderful trajectory. We started out developing housing slowly, and now we develop one, two and sometimes three projects a year, which means that we are fulfilling our mission.
We provide housing for people who desperately need it. Many of the people who come to us have either been living in sub-standard housing, in their cars, or on the streets. We have some residents with disabilities who, before they moved into one of our units, simply couldn’t climb up the stairs to get to their apartments, so they had become virtual shut-ins.
An important historic achievement for WHCHC and for the City of West Hollywood was the development of two permanently affordable housing communities for people with HIV/AIDS during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
These buildings were some of the first in the country. We now have more than 100 residents with the HIV/AIDS diagnosis living through- out our portfolio, including many long-term survivors whose health
What types of services do your residents require?
We are dedicated to providing secure and creative living environments for people with limited income. In addition to their financial limitations, many of our residents have special needs such as chronic health disorders, mental illness, HIV/AIDS, or are struggling with drug abuse. We also house many older adults who are experiencing the frailty associated with advancing age as well as a new vulnerable population at the other end of the age spectrum, transition age youth (TAY).
Our services are varied and tailored to the issues of each individual resident but they have a common goal, to assist individuals and families to thrive in WHCHC housing. We work with partner agencies to pro- vide specialized services. In order to provide this extensive menu of services we raise money not only from foundation and corporate grants but also from private individuals. It is my job working with our Board of Directors and Director of Resource Development to attract those funds to WHCHC.
What are some of your favorite moments?
It is so satisfying and gratifying when we open new buildings, people bring their belongings, they get their keys and open their door–and they see where they are going to live. It is life- changing.
What are your biggest challenges?
Development of affordable housing is an extremely challenging profession. Sources of financing are complex, difficult to put together and, over the past several years these sources have diminished greatly.
It is important that we stay in the forefront of real estate finance and develop creatively. We are constantly asking ourselves where can we locate new resources and then attract these sources to our development efforts. We have just begun to form partnerships with for-profit developers to build or ac- quire low income housing in market rate complexes.
This is a new way of doing business and fulfilling our mission in an era of diminishing resources.
An ever-present challenge, not only for us but for all developers of affordable housing, whether they are for-profit or non-profit, is what we call “nimby-ism” (not-in-my- back-yard). People are often afraid of change whether it be in the physical character of their community or the people who live there. Neighbors are apprehensive about who their new neighbors are going to be and how they will fit into the neighborhood culture.
Therefore we do a lot of communication with our neighbors during the development process to address their concerns. We show them our other buildings, we talk about our service programs, security protocols and parking considerations. We listen to the community’s design ideas and preferences and incorporate them wherever possible. It is our goal to be an enhancement to the neighborhood.
What kinds of impacts has WHCHC made?
WHCHC has had a significant impact on the availability of quality housing in West Hollywood. We also develop in larger cities like Glendale and the City of Los Angeles. Currently we have about 460 operating units and another 400 units in our development pipeline.
Right now we provide housing for over 700 residents in 17 buildings. But, over the years several thousand people have lived in our apartments. In some cases, families have actually moved out of our buildings and purchased their own homes. Our housing has given them the economic stability they need to transform their lives.
Of what are you most proud?
I am proud of everything we do, but three things stand out: One is of course the buildings. They are beautiful, safe, and they are designed with the residents needs in mind. The second is that we manage these buildings with all of their complex financing and regulation for the long run. The third is that we foster a positive and creative environment for our staff and Board. We have a wonderful group of people who work together and who communicate with each other to build the kinds of housing that is going to be enjoyed for many, many years by the residents we serve.
What do you see for the future of WHCHC?
Honestly, our ultimate goal is to put ourselves out of the real estate development business. One of the important pieces of our mission is to advocate strongly for both the creation of additional and the preservation of existing affordable housing for people and families with income challenges. If affordable housing was available for everyone who needed it–if we didn’t have to do this–it would mean that our mission and vision to have people sustainably housed in the greater Los Angeles area is fulfilled.
Unfortunately I don’t foresee that happening in the near future. In fact, Los Angeles appears to be heading in the opposite direction. But, certainly I predict that WHCHC will continue to grow in a thoughtful and responsible manner, and that we will provide additional and more varied resident services as well as building more housing. We will care for our buildings well into the future; each building has a life of at least 55 years, which provides stability not only to the residents but to the neighborhoods in which our apartment communities are located.
There is a vast collaborative network of housing providers whose missions are similar to ours. We join with them in caring about people who struggle to find or maintain decent housing. We want residents to live happy, healthy lives with promise and fulfillment. The dedication we find throughout our profession is profoundly rewarding, and our mission now and for the future is to provide well designed housing with services for low and very low income individuals and families, many of whom are also challenged by a variety of disabilities and issues which prevent them from securing a decent place to live.
Monday, May 09 2016
Hollenbeck Terrace – 2016 Los Angeles Conservancy Preservation Project Award Winner
Tuesday, March 29 2016
An Interview with Thomas W. Wulf of Lowe Enterprises
Ivy Station is a complicated, mixed-use project. What has been the biggest challenge and the greatest opportunity?
Clearly, it is more exciting to me to consider the greatest opportunity, and in this case, we collectively have the responsibility to create an activated, energetic, mixed-use development directly on one of LA’s newest light-rail transit lines, the EXPO line. Our mission is to build value in real estate by creating innovative and lasting environments for people to live, work and play. That is exactly our goal with Ivy Station.
The greatest challenge? Like any development project there are many constraints and stakeholders involved. Here, that is only magnified by the fact that the site has shared jurisdiction of both Culver City and Los Angeles. In addition, given the station proximity and transit parking, Metro rounds out the trifecta of agencies. Each of these bring along a multitude of requirements and site planning constraints. Layer this in with community, economic, constructability and market conditions, and there are many factors at work that must be managed and addressed.
How do you see TOD changing the way Los Angeles is growing?
I look at demand for residential and commercial space, and we see the growing desire from tenants to eliminate the commute and live in walkable, pedestrian oriented environments. This trend, combined with the significant investment in infrastructure throughout LA (the rail system is doubling in size), is changing the face of development and the landscape of the Los Angeles area. Properties surrounding transit stations are the new “freeway off-ramp” location that are in great demand. The challenge is that most locations directly adjacent to the transit stations are small in scale making it difficult to create meaningful impacts. Thankfully at Ivy Station we have the size to create a true destination and a mix of uses.
How different is creating place in Culver City compared with, say, DTLA?
I don’t think it is significantly different between the two locations. It is more site specific and relating to the context of the neighborhood in either location. Both Culver City and DTLA both have an existing fabric of commercial uses, a strong history and access to transit. In Culver City, we have the difference that we have more area to work with and can therefore create a more meaningful space within the development. It also relates to the demographics; in downtown we see a younger resident, while Culver City brings an established neighborhood of families and a broad range of residents.
How do you see Culver City changing in the next 5 years given the current wave of development?
Culver City has always been a desirable location – on the Westside with easy and convenient access to both downtown LA and the beach areas. Now that access is only magnified with the addition of the EXPO line. I see responsible and balanced development that will enhance the walkability of the community and provide a mix of uses (residential, commercial, hotel & retail) that will only foster additional vibrancy of the area. The area will be home to more residential development as well as commercial space. More than anything, I see Culver City being linked together more than ever before. The TOD area will be the hinge that will link downtown to Helms and the Arts District and Hayden Tract.
Do you think our communities understand the value of design?
Absolutely, although some communities value it more than others. Good design certainly adds value to properties although it must be a balanced approach as additional costs must create additional revenue or we will never be able to build it. It’s no doubt that good design is recognized and rewarded once complete. Sometimes the challenge is presenting and convincing others in the planning stages to take the additional risk in order to reap the rewards. Nothing is certain, but quality design and attention to details are essential for success.
What still gets you excited about doing what you do?
The most important thing about what I do every day, and keeps me excited, is the ability to create. The ability to dream, coordinate and create high quality places for us all to live, work and play. There are not many fields where you have the ability to touch ones’ senses in so many ways and impact lives for a generation to come. Sure there are the challenges, the process and the headaches along the way – those are exciting too – just in a different way! The process is exciting, but the finished product is the true reward.
Tuesday, March 29 2016
Introducing Ivy Station
The highly-anticipated Ivy Station development will be 500,000 SF of high quality, state-of-the-art office, residences, hotel, stores and restaurants within a landmark, destination-oriented environment. With the opening of the Metro Expo Line in June 2012, excitement about the area has substantially gained interest. This development is located at the intersections of Venice, Washington and National Boulevards. Just adjacent to the terminus of the Metro Expo Line of Culver City, this area is expected to become an energetic center of life for residents and visitors alike.
Ivy Station is a mixed-use transit-oriented development that provides a mix of retail, office, hotel and residential uses surrounding a large central open space and conveniently served by light rail and bus transit in Culver City. The project includes a stand-alone 5-story office building with retail and restaurant space on the ground floor and offices located on all levels. In addition, two interconnected 5 to 6-story buildings atop a single-level podium include a 200-unit residential building and a 148-room boutique hotel building, both of which will have ground floor retail and restaurant space. The three buildings are built over a three level subterranean parking structure. The project scale will reflect the surrounding area with additional building setbacks, step backs and offsets to create visual interest in the building design.
The Metro Expo Line connects the Westside by rail to Downtown L.A., Hollywood, the South Bay, Long Beach, Pasadena and dozens of points in between, making the ride from Culver City to Downtown less than 30 minutes. With a convenient stop at Ivy Station, commuters will have easy access to the businesses, residences and retail of the area. Subterranean parking for Metro riders will also be provided.
Ivy Station includes a total of approximately 136,000 SF feet of public and private outdoor open spaces, gateways, landscape treatments, and amenity spaces all designed in collaboration with Melendrez. This includes a Great Lawn and Central Plaza that will be a programmed for occasional daytime or evening special events. Concerts, movie nights, wine & cheese festivals, fitness classes, holiday craft fairs and seasonal activities are just some of the activities planned for the park. The Great Lawn and Central Plaza will be accessible from the train, office, retail areas, hotel and residential units, creating a dynamic place for the public, commuters, hotel guests and residents to enjoy. Retail and café uses will line the park area and the transit plaza providing opportunities for shopping and dining experiences.
The project’s landscape and streetscape design are key elements that will help promote a more livable, accessible, and vibrant neighborhood. Streetscape improvements around the site are intended to promote area revitalization through the implementation of pedestrian-friendly streetscape enhancements including canopy street trees, street furniture, graphics, and new crosswalk paving.
Private open spaces include a residential pool courtyard, a landscaped residential courtyard, a club room terrace, a gym deck, and a roof terrace. The hotel will provide public open space including a hotel courtyard space provided on the second level podium. The hotel will also have a 6th floor, rooftop pool deck.
Ivy Station includes a Transit Plaza extending from Venice Blvd. on the west to the Expo Station platform, and provides gathering spaces to serve commuters, project residents, employees and the local community, including locations for commuter related retail. Envisioned as a natural extension of the existing space beneath the platform, this public space offers a hardscape and landscaped place to linger for transit riders travelling both to and from the escalator, elevator and stairs that access the platform. The Transit Plaza also provides an appropriately civic space within which Metro’s Bike Rental Hub can reside, maximizing its visibility, and complimenting it with additional short-term bike parking at its edges.
The office building, designed by Ehrlich Architects, features generous amenities and indoor-outdoor spaces that take advantage of the complex’s high visibility and urban location. The office building will serve as the “Front Door” to the project and the Expo station. Balconies on the south façade of the office building will overlook the Great Lawn and Central Plaza below. The ground floor will provide restaurant and retail spaces, enhancing the pedestrian experience and taking advantage of the complex’s high visibility and urban location.
The Hotel at Ivy Station will be a 5-6 story boutique style hotel with 148 rooms. The hotel places significant focus on creating memorable public spaces in the lobby, lounge and the restaurant to appeal to hotel guests and local residents. Hotel amenities will include a gym, outdoor terrace, ballroom, meeting space and a board-room, and a pool and spa deck located on the roof.
The Residential Building is 5-6 stories and will include 200 residential units. Similar to the hotel building, the massing of the residential building is carefully designed to maximize views out and create a varied streetscape experience. The residential building has three different roof levels. The ground level of the residential building will have retail and restaurant storefronts along National Boulevard, the interior open space area and the paseo parallel to the Expo platform. Amenities will include a pool with courtyard space, a landscaped courtyard, gym, clubroom, and outdoor terraces.
RESIDENTIAL + HOTEL BUILDING POSITIONING
The residences are contained within two buildings on a single podium. On top of the podium will sit a series of sculpted, v-shaped courtyards providing as much natural light as possible, views out for internal units and privacy for the residential pool courtyard. The building massing is an exciting, geometric response to the courtyards, plazas and open space and creates a striking approach to the train station for passengers. The residential and hotel buildings are designed to interact as one dynamic building form while at the same time providing a clear horizontal separation.
Thursday, March 17 2016
KFA KRAWL 2015
Saturday, February 27 2016
Los Angeles Business Journal CRE Awards 2016
Tuesday, January 26 2016
Meet the KFrosh: KFA’s 2016 Freshman Class
Our office is bustling with new faces and we are excited about opportunities to collaborate as we grow. We interviewed our newest freshman class and asked each of them to give us a brief introduction:
Veronica Castro, AIA is a Puerto Rican architect who moved to L.A. after earning her Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University. All of her favorite activities involve getting friends together to spend time outdoors – she spends most of her weekends either surfing, skiing, or exploring L.A.’s local hikes and bike paths. During the week, she likes to wind down after work by cooking any sort of interesting recipe she can get her hands on. After living in L.A., she has developed an appreciation for the make-up of the city and the idea of small, diverse neighborhoods forming a metropolis that has something to offer to everyone, regardless of where you come from.
Lee Cooper, AIA earned his BA from Auburn University, completing his thesis with The Rural Studio. After stints in Chicago and Austin, he spent the past several years in his hometown of Birmingham working on various healthcare and higher education projects before deciding to relocate to Los Angeles to learn more about multi-family. Both he and his wife are enjoying exploring their new environs and can most often be found peddling back from the beach with a breakfast burrito in their bike basket.
Jeff DeWitt was raised in the topographically diverse, beautiful state of Michigan. He attended the University of Michigan, where he received a BS in Architecture in April 2015. He moved to LA shortly after to join the fantastic team at KFA. Outside of work, he watches a lot of Netflix and peruses Facebook. On rare occasions, he also has been known to go biking, run in the mountains, play the piano, sing, act, eat, pray, read, sleep, ponder, visit movie studios, go to the Westin Bonaventure Hotel (his favorite building in LA) and to the movies.
Christina Hackett graduated with her BA in Architecture from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2012. Having grown up in the scenic foothills near the Sequoia National Forrest, she moved to the Los Angeles shortly after graduation to pursue her passion of architecture and sustainable design. Outside of the office she enjoys night bike rides along the beach path, TRX classes and spending time with family.
Jeehyun Joo is a native of Seoul, South Korea where she attended Kookmin University to earn her B.Arch. degree. She moved to Los Angeles to attend the M.Arch degree program at the University of Southern California. After graduation, Jeehyun joined the KFA team to further her career as an architect. Personally she likes challenges—she is finally learning how to swim to get over her fear of water.
Elizabeth Kang received her Bachelor degree in Environmental Design from Texas A&M and went on to earn her M.Arch from Cornell University. Although originally from Texas, she lived in South Korea for awhile and then moved to Los Angeles in 2014 after graduating from Cornell. The complex nature of LA’s architecture is one of the reasons why she moved to LA. As an architect, the “chaos” in this case is not necessarily a negative thing but rather an exciting challenge. To her, the richness of the culture means endless possibilities. Elizabeth enjoys exploring nearby California locations while taking weekend trips with family and friends. She also enjoys photography, crafting, discovering new hole in the wall restaurants and especially going to markets in foreign cities.
Pedro Melis, AIA is a native from Caracas, Venezuela, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture. He moved to the US to pursue a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan and soon after graduation, he relocated to Chicago where he spent more than a decade practicing Architecture. Destiny (and weather) brought him to LA and he is excited to be part of the KFA family. Pedro is an amateur (but enthusiastic) filmmaker, an avid traveler, and he can cook one of the best mushroom risottos you will ever taste.
Li Shan graduated from the University of Southern California with an M.Arch degree. She has worked on multiple residential projects in California and Hawaii. Shan enjoys exploring new adventures and traveling has always been one of her passions. She loves to take challenges and believes the only way to understand a place is by being there. Shan has a strong desire to learn, and is now on her way to becoming an architect.
Raymond Vuong received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, where he gained an understanding of Building Information Modeling and the vital role it would have within the field of Architecture. His past work experience has enabled him to continue developing design execution from conception to construction observation, ranging from small to large-scale facilities. Raymond brings experience from a variety of projects that include residential, commercial, retail, automotive dealerships, tenant improvements, and high-rise buildings.
Adam Zhang was born into a family of architects and has dreamt of becoming an architect since childhood. He began his journey in architecture at the Shandong University of Architecture, and then attended the Bauhaus in Germany for further architectural studies. Adam moved to LA, a city of beautiful sunshine, beaches, and Hollywood movies, which greatly appealed to him. He graduated from UCLA’s M.Arch program where he was commended for his Hyperloop presentation. Soon after, he joined the KFA family to further pursue professional goals of becoming an architect and creating a better Los Angeles.