By Roy L. Hales
William Periera’s work has been described by adjectives like “stark,” “heavyset,” “functional” and “grandiose.” He completed over 400 projects, was one of the three architects that appeared on the cover of Time magazine and in the process also picked up an Academy Award, for Special effects on the 1941 action film “Reap the Wind.” Pereira’s work is said to have an unmistakable flair and he is recognized as one of the defining architects of the mid twentieth century. He designed the Metropolitan Water District complex in 1961 and the office tower has recently been transformed into a 96-unit apartment building renamed “the Elysian.”
The present owners, Linear City Development, describe it as “an aesthetic marvel. Set amidst a neighborhood of low-rise buildings, The Elysian affords its residents breathtaking views in all directions. The original building design is characterized by clean lines and wrap around balconies. The four distinctive pillars on the West and East elevation of the building are characteristic of Pereira’s best work.”
Given Pereira’s love of science fiction, it seems fitting that the Elysian is also one of the first Apartment Building in the US to Pay for Tenants’ On-site Electric Car Charging.
In their press release, Linear City states their architect, David Lawrence Grey, “Preserved much of the building’s iconic architecture while adding the latest technological innovations including 240-volt EV charging stations. Rents in the eight-story tower, located at 1115 Sunset Boulevard just north of downtown L.A. in Victor Heights, will range from $1,500 to $6,500. Parking spaces, offered as an option, will cost an additional $100-$150.00 each per month.”
Linear City is a Los Angeles-based real estate developer of mixed use, urban infill communities with a successful track record of turning blighted areas into vital neighborhoods.
In 1999 they bought the 1800 block of Industrial Street, then a desolate corner of Los Angeles. They transformed it into 650,000 square feet of live-work, office and retail space. That is where they developed the Toy Factory Lofts, Biscuit Company Lofts and Industrial Street Arts Studios.
They also developed 7th and Bridge, in the downtown Los Angeles Arts District, transforming it into 78 live / work lofts & 19 town homes that preserve the flavor of the city’s industrial past.
Linear City acquired the former Metropolitan Water District Building in 2011.
Their appreciation for William Periera and his work is obvious. Click on the following links to access:
- Articles about Pereira and the Metropolitan Water District Building
- A slideshow depicting the erection of the original Building
- A video documenting the rebirth of the Metropolitan Water District Building as the Elysian
- a slideshow view of present day Los Angeles as seen from the Elysian
“The Metropolitan Water District building’s most notable features are its exposed columns, four on each end, east and west,” said the present architect, David Lawrence Gray. “The concept was to pull the columns outside of the building and make them almost appear to be freestanding architectural elements. In fact, they are the predominant gravity-bearing columns for the building. We preserved them entirely.
“The exterior horizontal platforms, one on each floor, are another key feature. These functioned as balconies for some of the original building’s offices. We gave each apartment unit its own balcony by removing a floor-level bulkhead but retaining an existing steel window mullion and filling it with a huge piece of glass for a 10-foot window. Visually, this opened up the building from the inside and the outside.”
“Obviously, we took our cues from the mid-20th century architecture, but we wanted to add a modern-day, eclectic feel,“ Added Tatum Kendrick, the Interior Designer. “So the main furniture piece in the lobby is a curved, 1950s-Gio Ponti style sofa, but we custom designed the front desk to read as a monolithic, book-matched marble block, which is almost sculptural in form. For the lobby lighting we selected wall and ceiling lights by local artist Jason Koharik, which are reminiscent of 1950s French masters such as Serge Mouille. For one of the art pieces, we created a large-scale contact sheet of Julius Shulman photographs that he shot during construction of the building. It tells a story and draws you in.”
“We wanted to complement the tower’s strong, minimalist architectural details and muted color palette by creating a rich, warm, and inviting atmosphere for the building’s tenants through the fireplace areas, yoga deck and semiprivate cabanas,” said patio designer Llan Deui. “We were inspired also by the rich cultural history of California’s indoor/outdoor lifestyle and wanted to create a space where residents could feel like they were transported to the mountains while never leaving downtown Los Angeles.”
Linear City treasures the heritage of their projects, while transforming them into unique creations of the 21st century.
Electric Vehicles are part of their vision for the future.
Linear City installed L.A.’s first EV fast charger (480 volts) in a public parking lot across from its signature Toy Factory and Biscuit Company Lofts. This stands next to a suite of 10 240-volt, Level II charging stations, six more of which Linear City installed at its 7+Bridge loft project, also in the Arts District and home to the award-winning Bestia restaurant.
Thus we find their press release about the Elysian stating:
“Most EVs today are driven by homeowners who can install charging stations without a landlord’s permission, and public charging stations for renters are not yet ubiquitous. Linear City is working to topple those barriers.
‘“The lack of chargers in apartment buildings is one of the biggest obstacles to widespread electric car adoption,” said Linear City partner Yuval Bar-Zemer. “If we can prove that our paradigm makes sense in the market place, then we are confident that other developers will follow suit. We want free EV charging for renters to be seen as a standard amenity.”
“By making parking optional to the lease, we’re broadcasting to residents that it might not make sense to even own a car,” said Len Hill, Bar-Zemer’s Linear City partner. “By providing easy EV charging and cost efficient ride-share alternatives, we hope to change the way people think about urban living.”
“The building has enough electrical capacity to charge 96 cars,” Bar-Zemer said. “We can and will accommodate the load and cost if every single tenant has an EV. That would be amazing.”
“Other environmentally friendly upgrades at The Elysian include a solar thermal system designed to provide all of the building’s hot water needs. Its floor-to-ceiling windows, all new, are double-pane with high E glass. LED lighting is used throughout the building.”