Barbara Bestor’s 18-unit Blackbirds: Architectural high density living in Echo Park

0
Barbara Bestor's 18-unit Blackbirds: Architectural high density living in Echo Park
Blackbirds is an 18-home development that replaced five single-family houses in Echo Park // © Anne Cusack
Barbara Bestor's 18-unit Blackbirds: Architectural high density living in Echo Park
Blackbirds is an 18-home development that replaced five single-family houses in Echo Park // © Anne Cusack

Blackbirds, named for the image of a community of birds resting around a pool of water, is the latest urban infill development built under the city’s Small Lot Subdivision Ordinance, which was designed to allow developers to build several detached homes on a single parcel of land. In this case, 18 homes have replaced five dilapidated single-family homes. Residents will own their house and the land and will have no homeowners association fees. Trash disposal, mailboxes and gardens will be communal.

The medium-density, two- and three-story homes on 27,776 square feet, developed by the Los Angeles-based Local Construct and designed by noted architect Barbara Bestor, officially hit the market on June 12, with move-ins scheduled for August.

The homes’ pitched roofs and black-and-white exterior cladding are a striking addition to the steep hillside. “Echo Park has a tradition of being a bohemian enclave with informal wooden houses and hunting lodges,” says Bestor, who has lived in the neighborhood several times since the 1990s. “That vernacular works in those hills. The question for me was, can I bring that to a dense form of habitation?”

Even critics of small-lot development would probably admit the layout and open courtyard retain the character of the urban but rustic hillside neighborhood.

Rather than design traditional single-family homes in which each one has a garage, Bestor devised an open centralized area where cars can be parked uncovered. Or not. Stand in the parking court, and you can imagine the benefits of having a flexible public plaza. “It’s a nice way to create a third space,” Bestor says of the shared outdoor area. []

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here