john b. mutlow, faia, architects, los angeles

Villa Flores isn't just a multiple-award-winning affordable senior housing community. It's also the prototype for a group of projects to be built on the same church-owned block in downtown Los Angeles. Gauging from the response to Villa Flores, the future of this block looks mighty bright: The jurors unanimously applauded architect John Mutlow's thoughtful response to a challenging program.

The block's master plan dictated an L-shaped building, one that would edge the street and have a sunny rear courtyard. Mutlow complied, and used protruding floor planes to erode the building's corners a bit. The oversized concrete floor slabs also add shade to the balconies beneath them. His meticulous attention to detail shows in everything from the emergency roof staircase, painted bright red for easy identification from the air, to the xeriscaped courtyard garden, whose design is based on an alluvial plain.

A budget-conscious resourcefulness is evident, too. The metal grid atop the roof contains a mesh filler to mask some mechanical equipment from view; a vertical triangular column of glass both denotes the entry to the building and allows extra natural light into every floor.

project architect: John V. Mutlow, FAIA, John V. Mutlow, FAIA, Architects
developer: 1010 Development Corp., Los Angeles
general contractor: Morley Construction Co., Santa Monica, Calif.
landscape architect: Arnold Swanborn, Lord Swanborn, Los Angeles
interior designer: John V. Mutlow, FAIA, Architects
housing consultant: Noel Sweitzer, Housing Development Services, Los Angeles
project size: 415 to 800 square feet per unit
site size: .52 acre
construction cost: $115 per square foot
rental price: One-third of resident's adjusted gross income (ranges from $150/month to $250/month per unit)
units in project: 75
photographer: Michael Arden Photography