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2016 MCHAP

One Santa Fe

Michael Maltzan, FAIA

Los Angeles, CA, USA

February 2015


Michael Maltzan, FAIA / Michael Maltzan Architecture, Inc.


Manny Gonzalez / KTGY Architecture + Planning (Executive Architect) Weidlinger Associates, Inc. (Structural Engineer) Green MEP Engineering Consulting, Inc. (MEP Engineer) KPFF Consulting Engineers (Civil Engineer) LRM, LTD. (Landscape Architect) International Parking Design (Parking Design) Newsom Brown Acoustics, LLC (Acoustics) Arup (Code) Bernards (Contractor)



Iwan Baan


The transit-oriented project integrates residential, retail, commercial, and public open spaces to create an architecturally distinct home for Arts District residents. The project also focuses on creating urban and neighborhood connections. At its northernmost end, One Santa Fe links directly to the First Street Bridge, which carries pedestrian sidewalks, vehicular traffic, and the LA Metro Gold Line. A new commercial zone stretches across the ground level of the northern portion of the building and houses a large training facility and offices for the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). Above are two levels of parking that are accessed by circular ramps. As the project’s linear form moves south, it begins to shift, delaminating to create views and ground-level connections across the width of the site to the railways, the Los Angeles River, and a potential future Metro station on the site of the existing Metro repair yard. Just south of Third Street, the building lifts to create a "bridge" over a new ground level parking area and an expansive public courtyard filled with shops, restaurants, bars, and a neighborhood market. It is here that the public realm of Santa Fe Avenue and the Arts District neighborhood is pulled across the site as the public gardens and plazas wind between the building’s branching of residential floors. The balconies arrayed above these public spaces on the lower levels create private outdoor spaces for residents to engage the active landscape below, extending this communal realm into the building above.


One Santa Fe is a new mixed-use development in downtown Los Angeles that creates a programmatic amalgam of residential, retail, commercial, and open spaces within the formerly industrial Arts District. The building is located in the Arts District of Los Angeles situated between the historic downtown core and the Los Angeles River. With western views to downtown and eastern view to the San Gabriel Mountains, the site originally served as the passenger terminal for Santa Fe Railroad, Los Angeles’ first transcontinental rail line. Purchased by the MTA in 1984, the site was recently used as a service parking area for employees of the adjacent Metropolitan Transit Authority rail yard facilities. The 510,000 square foot building stretches over a long and narrow 4-acre site, directly northeast of the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). Extending from the First Street Bridge south toward the Fourth Street Bridge along Santa Fe Avenue, the building’s length of more than a quarter mile echoes the strong, linear forms of the surrounding regional infrastructure, including the Los Angeles River, adjacent rail lines, and the former freight depot building that now houses SCI-Arc.


One Santa Fe is the first development of this scale in the Arts District and is quickly becoming an integral part of the neighborhood, which is enjoying a renaissance of economic and cultural development. Surrounded by galleries, creative spaces, and artisan enterprises, the building and its residents contribute to an evolving, focal neighborhood for L.A.’s professional and creative class. Rather than dominate the neighborhood with is size, the building's architecture instead makes both urban and neighborhood-scale connections by integrating retail, commercial, residential and community spaces within a bold architectural form. The building provides 438 new apartments for the neighborhood ranging from 345 square-foot studio apartments to 1,216-square foot townhouses. In an area dominated by for-sale units priced from the $700,000s, One Santa Fe supplies the much-needed component of high quality rental opportunities, with 349,000 gross s.f. of rentable residential space (including residential balconies). The breakdown of unit types includes studios (11%), one-bedroom (49%), two-bedroom (34%), and townhouse units (6%). Twenty percent (88) of the units are reserved for families and individuals making less than 50% of the area median income. One Santa Fe's lower level includes creative office space, currently leased by the LA Metro for use as a training facility, and new retail spaces including a new community market. A 5,000-sf. community Art Center further enlivens the distinctive streetscape of the building's public spaces and strengthens the project’s connection with its larger neighborhood. Mixed uses also include creative office space, currently leased to the MTA for use as a training facility.

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