Maltzan’s One Santa Fe apartment complex plays with notion of density

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Maltzan's One Santa Fe apartment complex plays with notion of density
The mixed residential and commercial development at 255 South Santa Fe Ave. in the Arts District in Los Angeles / © Bob Chamberlin
Maltzan's One Santa Fe apartment complex plays with notion of density
The mixed residential and commercial development at 255 South Santa Fe Ave. in the Arts District in Los Angeles / © Bob Chamberlin

Every once in a while a piece of architecture comes along that is emblematic of a moment in a city’s architectural and urban development. One Santa Fe, a 438-unit apartment complex in the arts district by Michael Maltzan Architecture, is that kind of building.

It is a fractal of contemporary Los Angeles architecture, the fragment that both contains and helps explain the whole.

One Santa Fe is not a flashy or gymnastic piece of architecture. It doesn’t suggest a new design vocabulary for the 55-year-old Maltzan, who founded his firm in 1995.

What gives the $165-million project its unusual symbolic power is that it takes the generic stuff of a typical L.A. apartment building — a wood frame slathered in white stucco and lifted above a concrete parking deck — and expands it dramatically to urban scale. []

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