designarc los angeles, los angeles

Biltmore Colony's architecture is referential to Palm Springs, Calif.'s modernist history, but DesignARC Los Angeles infused the project with up-to-date models of land planning as well. The “innovation is in the creation of the courtyards,” said one judge.

Built on the remains of the old Biltmore Hotel, the project uses a zero-lot-line strategy to get the most out of its 3.3-acre parcel. Each of the 19 houses is sited on one side of the lot to capture outdoor living spaces up to the adjacent house. “This was an attempt to remake the traditional Palm Springs patio home,” says Dion McCarthy, AIA. “It's all about the sun and outdoors here.” Circulation is maintained along the lot-line wall to create privacy for each house.

In addition to the outdoor spaces, all the houses have casitas, staggered from front to rear to vary the streetscape. A well-known typology in Palm Springs, the casitas—articulated as freestanding volumes close to the house—can serve as guesthouses or as vacation rentals, McCarthy says.

principals in charge / project designers: Dion McCarthy, AIA, and Mark D. Kirkhart, AIA, DesignARC Los Angeles
project architect: Andrew Alper, DesignARC Los Angeles
developer: Garth Erdossy, Nexus Residential Communities, Santa Ana, Calif.
general contractor: Tony Ditteaux, Nexus Builders, Santa Ana
landscape architect: Michael Schneider, ASLA, Orange Street Studio, Los Angeles
project size: 1,900 square feet to 2,700 square feet per unit
site size: 3.3 acres
construction cost: $139 per square foot
sales price: $900,000 per unit
units in project: 19
photography: Ciro Coelho Photography