Bringing the nature found on the adjacent foothills of Los Angeles into the city of Beverly Hills, 8600 Wilshire mimics a small sinuous white hill boasting an 18-unit residential village atop commercial space. Clustered white glass villas and trees ascend upward to contour the Beverly Hills skyline and provide a distinctive streetscape on Wilshire Boulevard.
The “hillside village” offers a variety of housing types for city residents, including three townhouses, five villas, two studios and eight condominiums. The massing of the village cultivates community with the added benefit of individual balcony-patios to maintain independence and privacy. Villa residents experience a balance between public and private as the incandescent villas appear opaque from the street, yet reveal a transparent façade facing the private garden, townhouse and condominium units.
The village is wrapped in a water-efficient “living wall” of native, drought-tolerant succulents and vines. Undulating around perforated windows on the façade, this vertical garden extends interior space to the exterior balconies and provides a natural green-screen for condominium residents. Along Wilshire Boulevard, the living wall lifts off the ground to reveal glass storefronts at ground level. The resulting effect is a floating plinth that resembles local privacy hedges and conceals an elevated courtyard. Hidden away from the street is an elevated courtyard accented by a canopy of trees and native plantings. At the center of this secret garden is a water feature flowing gently to a secondary reflecting pool in the lobby below. As residents leave the everyday bustle of the city, they find solitude at 8600 Wilshire in a garden valley—at home in nature.
In high-density cities, Modernist and Post-Modernist housing typically prioritized functions and formats over human relationships to the environment. For 8600 Wilshire, MAD considers the possibility of a new model for West Coast vernacular amid the sprawling density of Los Angeles. MAD purposes a harmonious architectural space of human experience by placing residents in the spiritual landscape of nature.
Photo credits: MAD Architects