steven ehrlich architects, culver city, calif.

Steven Ehrlich Architects' design for this four-unit loft project caught the judges' attention with its high level of livability. "They've opened up internal sight lines as well as external views," said one. Although the architects had a tight, 0.18-acre site and a 30-foot height limit to work with, they didn't have stylistic restraints imposed by context, local laws, or market factors. "Venice is a bohemian, eclectic community," says principal Steven Ehrlich, FAIA. "It attracts an artistic, free-spirited kind of person. So, we could explore ideas of space, volume, and livability without conforming to a certain style."

The Modern, 1,900-square-foot units sit atop a private, semisubterranean parking garage containing two spaces for each loft. The rear facades feature roll-up glass doors to catch ocean breezes, and the interior spaces, as the judges noted, contain open floor plans to facilitate a relaxed, beachside lifestyle.

project architect: John Gerard, Steven Ehrlich Architects
project designer: Thomas Hanley, Steven Ehrlich Architects
developer: Richard Ehrman, Malibu, Calif.
general contractor: Sanchez Brothers Construction, Culver City
landscape architect: Ray Hansen, San Diego
project size: 1,900 square feet per unit
site size: 0.18 acre
construction cost: Withheld
sales price: Approximately $800,000 per unit
units in project: 4
renderings: Shimahara Illustration