moule & polyzoides, architects and urbanists, pasadena, calif.

Who says you can't build spectacular multifamily housing in a dense, urban environment? Here's a project that features 20 rental units with 20 different floor plans and 20 private gardens on less than an acre, plus subterranean parking, four courtyards, lush landscaping, outdoor fireplaces, and, of course, those seven burbling fountains. No wonder that, despite the $3,500- to $7,000-per-month rents, there's little trouble keeping the units occupied.

All the crowd-pleasing Mediterranean-inspired touches are there—stucco walls, tile roofs, wrought-iron balconies, color-rich Malibu tiles—but they're put together in a sophisticated way that speaks more to L.A.'s rich design history and less to California's penchant for ersatz Spanish style.

“People love to be in an environment that has a sense of particularity and that's balanced by a sense of community,” says Stefanos Polyzoides, an architect whose love of courtyard housing resulted in his co-authoring a book on the subject, Courtyard Housing in Los Angeles: A Typological Analysis (Princeton Architectural Press). Polyzoides would no doubt appreciate the judges' take on his little jewel: “Terribly sophisticated ... a very quiet urbanism ... authentic space ... trying to really do something right.”

principals in charge / project architects: Elizabeth Moule, Stefanos Polyzoides, Moule & Polyzoides, Architects and Urbanists
developer: Boyd Willat, Angel's Landing, LLC, Los Angeles
general contractor: Tim Lefevre, Lefevre Corp., Los Angeles
landscape architect: Nicholas Graham, Nicholas Graham Garden Designer, Los Angeles
project size: 1089 to 1869 square feet
site size: 0.7 acre
construction cost: $150 per square foot (including underground parking)
rental price: $3,500 to $7,000 per month
units in project: 20
photographer: Tim Street-Porter